tadea Lions v Mohawks Preview
By Tom Jameson
Thursday 27 Oct 2011 09:22:00
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 Lions must learn from their mistakes and bounce back this Sunday as they put their cup exit in the National Shield behind them. And there is no better way to right the wrongs than a derby game against local rivals Tees Valley Mohawks.

The game tips off Sunday 4pm. Spectators are asked to be seated by 3.30pm. Tickets are just £4 adults and £3 children. Family tickets are also available at just £12 for 2 adults and 2 kids (17 & under).

The Mohawks have already lost to Lions this season in the first round of the National Shield and they will have additional incentive to bounce back after a humiliating 42pt defeat at the hands of Rossendale Raptors at the weekend. Damian Warriner, Tyrone Thomas and Alex Moore will be the main threats.

Moore was the only player to really perform in the last meeting as Middlesbrough did a good job of smothering the other players on defence. Mohawks Lee Woolams will have a tough job trying to contain Konanec while the game in general should provide an entertaining fixture.

In the league Lions are in third place with 2 wins and 1 loss, the same as Mohawks although Lions have a superior points scored difference. The game therefore holds even more importance alongside local pride… the potential to go top of the league.

The Lions outclassed the Mohawks in the previous game and this was without new American big man Mike Konanec. Even against Hull, they played as badly as they could and were still in breathing distance of Hull. It would be inconceivable to think Lions would play as badly during the rest of the season and from one perspective if even a 20% improvement was made, in theory it should lead to a comfortable win.

Coach Thomson is not looking for 20% though, he is challenging his players to deliver at 100%. “We should always aim for the top bar. We are an ambitious club and were served a reminder of how difficult this league is last Sunday. This week we play our biggest game of the season, the home league game against Mohawks. They will be ready for us and I am hoping we will be ready for them.”

There are no new injury concerns and Mike Konanec is beginning to adjust to English life and the English game. The big American was not far off a triple double of points, rebounds & blocks in his National League debut, despite still suffering jet lag. The team have only trained once together since his arrival and after playing a full game on Saturday, the 6’9 centre was starting to run low on energy during the second game. All should be well by Sunday and Coach Thomson has indicated that a lot of attention at training this week will be focussed on how to best use Mike in games.

Tom Robinson and Papis Samb will play crucial roles if Middlesbrough is to do well but support is also necessary from a couple of other players with Patrick O’Connor and Richy Summerbell encouraged to bounce back after indifferent displays in recent games.

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