Chris Bunten expects every facet of his fast-improving roster’s skillset to be tested this weekend as Newcastle Eagles WBBL embark on a potentially season-defining road trip.
Bunten is planning for two very different challenges as his players tackle a fast and youthful Oaklands Wolves this afternoon prior to tomorrow’s clash against a powerful and experienced BA London Lions.
But the Newcastle playcaller insists his in-form side is capable of passing both tests with flying colours and laying the foundation for a top-four challenge.
“It’s a while since we’ve spent the weekend on the road and the last time we did face back-to-back away games we weren’t in the best of shape,” said Bunten.
“This weekend we’ll be taking a full roster down south and we’ve had a good week of preparation.
“If we can win both games then that would put us in a great position to challenge for that top four spot – and secure homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
“We’re starting to string a few wins together and beginning to show what we’re capable of. It’s the right time of the season to hit peak form. The plan has always been to go on a run into the playoffs and see what we can do in the post-season.”
Newcastle have bagged a hat-trick of wins on the bounce and last weekend’s victory against fourth-placed Nottingham Wildcats was the most impressive of the three.
The Eagles dominated from start to finish with every player contributing key minutes – led by red hot senior pair Giulia Simioni and Kara Bonenberger.
But two matches inside 24 hours will force Newcastle to take their game to the next level and prove they can be serious playoff contenders.
“Oaklands are a young team with a lot of pace and so we’ll need to be ready for that,” added Bunten.
“They’ll press us from the start but we need to play to our strengths and look to dominate inside.
“The Lions are all about power and experience. Defensively they will be pretty strong and so how well we do down there will be determined by how successfully we can execute our offence.
“Over the course of the weekend we’ll need to stick to two very different game plans but we have the tools to take two wins.”
The Eagles tip off at 3.45pm today and face the Lions from 1pm tomorrow.