The New Zealand Breakers are looking forward to a rare Sunday afternoon match in basketball's NBL against the Cairns Taipans.
Source: 1 NEWS
The 11-6 Breakers, who sit third in the standings, have had a tense rivalry against the Taipans and their match-up at Spark Arena this weekend is expected to be no different as they kick off the new year.
The two sides have clashed on 58 previous occasions, with the Taipans holding a narrow 30-28 advantage, but the Breakers have lost four of the last five to the Australian outfit in Auckland.
Cairns won their last meeting, at Spark Arena in round one, a defeat that spurred the Breakers on to a nine-game winning streak.
Breakers head coach Paul Henare knows anytime you play the Taipans, you better be prepared at both ends of the floor.
"Cairns are a well-coached and well-disciplined team and you have to be really on top of your team rules and what you are trying to achieve," he said.
"That has been a focus for us these past few weeks, coming in to practice and having everyone clear on what we are trying to achieve."
Henare said there is a renewed focus after they had lost two of their last three games heading into the Christmas break.
He said his side had short breaks at Christmas and New Year, allowing some time with family, but the players and coaches have put plenty in at practice.
"The biggest difference from November is we stayed together as a team, no guys off on international duty with others doing their own thing back here.
"We have spent time on the practice floor and in front of the video, trying to figure out a few things that have shown up in the last couple of weeks that are of concern."