Undefeated Vikings charge to the Bay
BASKETBALL: Grafton Vikings will welcome back in-form big man Mitch Wicks to the fold in time for the club's tough road trip to play Byron Bay Beez.
Wicks was the top-scorer for the Vikings when they met the Beez in the opening round of the 2018 Frigid Air Sunshine Conference season but missed the team's last clash against Ballina Breakers.
The Vikings managed to lessen the impact of Wicks' loss by playing more of a small-man game, with point guard and captain Sam Wicks switching into the power forward role throughout the victory.
But up against a strong Beez outfit, Wicks knows his side is going to need their bigger bodies on the court as they prepare for a physical contest.
"Grafton has always been known for playing physical and having a go,” Wicks said.
"We don't want to be known as a team who backs down from the battle and it won't be any different this weekend.
"It got a bit physical at times against the Ballina blokes last game, but we stuck to a fast game style and they weren't able to get the contact on us as much as they would have liked.”
The fast-points style has become a weapon of coach Nathan Martin this season and it has been facilitated well by the Vikings' talented rising crop of junior players, including Jack Boorman, Jack Roberts-Field and Kyle Brunkner.
The Vikings are on top of the competition ladder after clinching three wins from three games to start the season, but it does not mean the captain is any less wary of Byron Bay second time around.
"This season could not have started any better,” he said.
"But in saying that, we know it is only the start of the season and a lot of the teams will be better the second time around.
"We just have to stick to our game plan that has got us this far already.
"I think having a lot of the young blokes in the squad last year meant they got to see the intensity and the efforts of our older players.
"It has really helped the smooth transition into the top grade for a lot of these younger players.”
The clash tips off at the Cavanbah Centre at 6pm. The Vikings women have the bye.