THEY won’t see finals action this season and Nick Kay’s Illawarra Hawks could well be fighting to avoid the wooden spoon finish after slumping to a 111-87 loss to Adelaide on Sunday.
It leaves them just one win clear of Sydney and Brisbane who face each other in the final round.
The Hawks face a tough road double against New Zealand and minor premiers Melbourne.
Should they drop both, percentages could see them finish at the bottom of the ladder. It’s an unlikely scenario but would prove an ignominious finish to their campaign.
In their final home game of the season, the Hawks were dealt a blow with Rotnei Clarke a late withdrawal with a foot injury while AJ Ogilvy kitted up but took no part in the match.
Despite the disruption, the hosts only trailed by four at three-quarter-time, after 16 lead changes, but were blown away in the fourth to ultimately go down by 24.
Demitrius Conger continued to mount a compelling case for MVP honours at season’s end with 27 points in a losing effort, while Mitch Norton had 12 of his 15 points in the first half. Off-contract veteran Tim Coenraad provided a timely reminder of his value from the bench finishing with 15 points.
The Hawks had no answer for Daniel Johnson inside, with the star big man finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds while Shannon Shorter had 20 points and five assists.
Mitch Creek (16) Nathan Sobey (15) and Josh Childress were the other men in double figures.