Date Time League Season
October 8, 2023 3:00 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Party pooper Tajh Green insists it’s Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles’ job to ruin Sheffield Sharks’ big day and hand the home side a loss on their brand new court.

This afternoon sees the grand opening of the Canon Medical Arena as the South Yorkshire club becomes the latest British franchise to move into its own basketball-specific facility.

But Green revealed Newcastle are in no mood to play the role of perfect guests as the men in black look to double up on their opening night win against Sheffield.

“We need to silence the Sharks fans early on,” said the former Manchester Giant, who bagged an impressive double double the last time the two teams met.

“We know what an away game at Sheffield can be like at the best of times. But they’re going to have a big crowd for the first time at the Canon Medical Arena.

Josh Ward-Hibbert holding off the Sheffield Sharks during our opening night win (Photo: Gary Forster)

“We would love to hand them a first loss in their new home.”

Defeating Atiba Lyons’ Sharks on their own patch feels like a tall order following a painful run of three defeats on the bounce.

But Green is adamant that a fully focused Newcastle side sticking to the scout is a match for any team in the British Basketball League.

“We know what we have to do down at the Sharks: play our ball, finish the game, rebound and get on a run,” he added.

“There will be breakdowns and the refs will get involved but we have to stay focused on what we want to do. It’s got to be about us.”

Newcastle make the short trip south still reeling from two agonising defeats in three days against the Lithuanians of Šiauliai and Rob Paternostro’s Leicester Riders.

Marc Steutel’s men had chances to put both games to bed but failing to close out games down the stretch has become a worrying habit for the Eagles.

It’s a concern Green shares but the all-action forward insists a talented group of players knows how to right the wrongs of recent weeks.

“Even at the end we felt Leicester was a game we could have won,” he added. “We had some mental lapses, made some crucial turnovers and missed some rebounds that we should have had.

“Fixing all of that could have played a big role in us getting the win.

Rickey McGill brought the energy vs the Sheffield Sharks (Photo and Featured Photo: Gary Forster)

“We just have to learn how to close games out and be smarter towards the end.

“I know there might be some fatigue and other stuff involved but we have to forget about all of that and just finish the game.

“We can’t get involved with the referees and let them dictate the game. We have to play our game at all times regardless of what’s going on around us.

“We’ve got a full roster of guys who can finish any game against anybody so it’s on us at the end of the day to do our job.

“It’s down to the players on the court to play defence, rebound and make sure we don’t turn the ball over towards the end.”

Green has burst onto the Eagles scene with a series of dynamic double-figure hauls and hit 17 eye-catching points against a locked-in Leicester defence.

But the US star wasn’t at his best under the boards on Friday night after putting in a serious shift in the Baltics 48 hours earlier.

He added: “Was fatigue a factor against the Riders? Yes and no.

“Even when you’re tired you have to find a way to push through it, no matter what.

“If you feel tired, fine — get a sub. But we always knew we’d have to push through this week.

“Our mentality has to be ‘next game, next win’ and there’s no time to look back. It’s the same on Sunday.

“As a group we just have to move on and especially with the schedule we’ve had this week.”

Newcastle face Sheffield from 3pm today with the action screened live and for free via the British Basketball League’s YouTube channel.