Two games in and two home losses registered. Is it panic stations for Newcastle Eagles?
Whilst the opening night defeat against Glasgow may have been expected as the Eagles had only come together days before the game. They had a full week to practice for the visit of Sheffield.
Most Newcastle fans, the Coaching staff and the players expected a better performance. They did get that but despite a second-half comeback they ultimately fell just short losing 85 – 82. It means The Eagles are the only team in The BBL North Cup Group yet to register a win.
A statistic they’ll be looking to end as they go to Manchester Giants this afternoon in what is going to be another tough and crucial game. The North Group is certainly the more competitive of the two and it’s anyone’s guess as to who is going to come out on top and you will be eliminated.
Following Friday’s defeat Head Coach Ian MacLeod gave his impressions of the game, what pleased him, where he felt the side had gone wrong and what they are doing to try and put that right this afternoon in Manchester.
“I thought Friday was definitely an improved performance for the most part. We had a poor first half defensively, in particular the second quarter, and I felt that was the key to the game. It does concern my that we’ve lost both games so far as we don’t plan to lose.”
I was pleased with the way we responded in the second half after being ten down at the break. In particular the 3rd quarter where we showed what we are capable of. The next step is to deliver what is expected more consistently.”
Certainly, the third quarter lived the packed Vertu Motors Arena as Rahmon Fletcher led from the front and not only dragged his team back in to the game but actually inspired them to lead for a while.
Sheffield showed real steel though to withstand the fervour of the crowd and the passion of their opponents to rally, come back and ultimately take a thrilling road victory. It is their seventh win in ten visits to The Vertu Motors Arena.
MacLeod though feels he knows what he needs from his team and is seeing encouraging signs as they go into this afternoon’s game.
“Defence will be a huge key for us. It sparks our fast break and builds momentum for us. I expect a systematic approach from Manchester, not dissimilar to Sheffield. A lot runs through Dan Clark so we must be ready to pressure him correctly.”
Many feel that The Giants signing of GB International Captain Clark along with the capture of Leicester Riders defensive kingpin Jamell Anderson and persuading Josh Steel to return to these shores has given the Manchester outfit a very tough looking roster indeed.
MacLeod was in no doubt what he feels his side need to get that first W under their belts with a short, sharp, succinct statement.
“We have to have consistent focus, concentration and execution.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it? His players will be hoping to follow his words and get a win to kick-start their season.
The game is free to watch on the BBL Player.