Moller makes Minerdome return as Ballarat Miners embrace next hurdle

Ballarat Miners will be out for revenge when they meet the second-placed Hobart Chargers in their final home game of the regular season on Saturday night.

In the teams’ previous South East Australian Basketball League encounter in Tasmania, former Miner Craig Moller starred for the Chargers collecting a season-high 43 points as the Ballarat GMHBA Miners went down by nine points.

BATTLE READY: Cam McCallum and his teammates had a bruising encounter against Bendigo on Wednesday and have been focusing on recovery. Picture: Dylan Burns

BATTLE READY: Cam McCallum and his teammates had a bruising encounter against Bendigo on Wednesday and have been focusing on recovery. Picture: Dylan Burns

Now Moller makes his Minerdome return, but in opposition colours.

The Miners will welcome back head coach Nathan Cooper-Brown, who missed a month while he helped coach the Australian team in the FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina.

“It’s really important to have home court advantage for this game,” Cooper-Brown said.

“It’s another top four team, it’s a team that got us at their place and we felt like that result got taken away from us.” 

While the Miners have faced the top three teams in three weeks and a bruising encounter with Bendigo on Wednesday, Cooper-Brown believed the run was good preparation for finals.  

“It tests us and let’s us work out where we are right now in the landscape, particularly the top four,” he said.

“It also provides us with the best competition going into finals, because every game is going to be tough.”

With a lot of respect for Hobart’s head coach Anthony Stewart and talent including Moller, Cooper-Brown said his team was prepared for a close encounter.

FAMILIAR FACE: Craig Moller, pictured playing for the Ballarat Miners, will return to the Minerdome but as the star of the opposition. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

FAMILIAR FACE: Craig Moller, pictured playing for the Ballarat Miners, will return to the Minerdome but as the star of the opposition. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

“We’ve been a really good offensive group for most of the year, it’s when we have those defensive lapses, that’s when teams have been able to get up on us or back into the game,” the coach said.

“Making sure our defensive execution and engagement matches our offence has to be a point of emphasis if we want to get the job done.”

While everybody is available to play, with three games in eight days, Cooper-Brown said there were some tired and sore bodies.

“Once the lights are on in the Minerdome and the ball goes up, all that those guys are going to care about is getting the result and knocking off the Chargers,” he said.