THE THUNDERBOLTS will host the Central Coast Waves this Saturday night at the Sports Dome in the Waratah State League.
After a 58-49 loss to Newcastle last weekend, the John Ireland-coached side is two and two for the season.
Two 16-year-olds will debut at home for the Bolts, with Max Chillingworth playing his first home game and Brodie Peak playing his first ever game in the top side.
Unfortunately they have been called in to replace the tall timber of 2.08m (six foot ten) Lawrence York and Luke Krug who are unavailable.
Ireland was disappointed with the performance of the side last week although did see a positive.
“We missed 15 free-throws and six uncontested lay-ups,” Ireland said.
“The fundamental stuff let us down in attack but we did defend really well.
“To keep a team like Newcastle to 58 points is excellent.”
Captain David Burke is the heart and soul of the defence and brings his intensity into the game.
The side has had a few sessions since the loss to Newcastle and is ready to take on the new Central Coast side.
“We had a really good session on Thursday night,” Ireland said.
“We have been working on our free throws and shooting and are confident we can get another win.”
The Waves have replaced the former Central Coast side, the Crusaders.
“We don’t know much about them but they lost to Newcastle by the same margin as us so it might be a close one,” Ireland said.
The coach will be away coaching the Tamworth U14s in Illawarra but is looking for his big-game players to lead the way.
American import Tevin Hurd has been having a real problem with fouls since arriving in March.
“His impact could be massive,” Ireland said.
“We just have to try to keep him on the court.”
Rhys Chillingworth and Cody Miller have also been earmarked to lead the young Bolts around.
Veteran Justin Leehy has been the top scorer in most games this year and will look to continue that roll and get the Bolts back on the board.
The game will get underway at 7pm.
The Thunderbolt women’s side has this week off but is preparing to travel to Port Macquarie next week and bounce back from a loss to Newcastle as well.
Following a two-way forfeit in the game between Coonabarabran and Walgett, Peel High has been given a free ride to the regional level of the State Knockout.
A gala day held last week saw Oxley go through, with the other half of the draw waiting on the western schools.
After the forfeit, Peel will now meet Oxley to see who goes through as the A side and B side.
Both teams will meet the equivalent Western sides, with the winners going through to the State Carnival at the Central Coast later in the year.