Date Time League Season
October 6, 2023 7:45 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Marc Steutel insists Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles remain on course to become a ‘complete team that’s consistently winning games’ ahead of tonight’s crunch clash with Leicester Riders.

Just 48 hours after a controversial last-gasp loss in Lithuania, the men in black welcome Rob Paternostro’s team to Tyneside for what looks like the tastiest of top three battles.

And Steutel is steeled for another tough examination of his new-look roster as Newcastle bid to bounce back from successive defeats.

“Leicester have assembled a talented group this season,” he said. “They are still figuring everything out — like most new teams at this time of year — but in coach Rob they have someone who is tried and tested in this league.

“They took massive steps forward against Bristol in their last game so we have to ensure that we are focussed on disrupting their personnel as best as we possibly can.

“If we can continue to improve in our play and build on the positive foundations that are there, we feel we can cause any team in this league problems.

Eagles in action during their European debut against SIauliai in Lithuania (Photo: ENBL)

“We’re in the middle of a tough schedule and there’s very little time to practice in between games.

“Right now, it’s about getting healthy, freshening up and trying to learn from watching film.

“We have no time to dwell on anything apart from the positives. We will continue to work towards being a complete team that’s winning games.”

Newcastle have played themselves into winning positions in each of this season’s four competitive fixtures.

But the Eagles failed to close out games against Cheshire Phoenix and Šiauliai down the stretch — a dangerous habit that Steutel’s determined to break.

“We have to find a way to manage games better when we have been so dominant in our play,” he admitted.

“We have to trust the play that’s got us there in the first place. We must ensure our concentration doesn’t waver at key moments within the game, regardless of the level of the opponent and the environment.”

Newcastle’s midweek defeat in Lithuania — the club’s first competitive clash on European soil — was shrouded in controversy following a late call that ultimately handed the hosts the initiative.

Jordan Johnson’s lay-up was chalked off with the scores tied at 92-92 and just 14 seconds remaining after Malcolm Delpeche was penalised for a three-second violation.

Will Neighbour in action against BC Siauliai (Photo: ENBL)

And Šiauliai went on to hit a buzzer-beating winner with Steutel and his coaching team still reeling from the previous call.

ENBL bosses later released a statement that vindicated Delpeche but offered little consolation to the defeated Eagles.

“Evaluating the last Newcastle offense in the game Šiauliai vs Newcastle, which started with 33 seconds left and continued until the end of the 4th quarter, we conclude that the referees incorrectly called the 3-second violation for Newcastle no. 22, who tried to leave the restricted area,” read the statement.

It remains to be seen whether Eagles bosses will — or can — seek any form of redress but Steutel added: “I was bitterly disappointed with how the game ended. I expected them to go on a run and play free at some point but we have to find a way to manage games better when we have been so dominant in our play.

“There were positives — we imposed our style of play on the game for large parts. We did a better job of execution on the offensive end and I was really pleased with how we rebounded.”

Darius Defoe’s return to fitness offers Steutel another option ahead of this weekend’s games against Leicester and Sheffield.

And Newcastle’s head coach added: “It was great to have Darius back. His leadership and defensive ability to anchor the unit on the floor is invaluable to us.”

Remaining tickets for the Riders’ clash (7.45pm tip) are available via