Warrnambool Seahawks set to face Watson Conference ladder-leaders Blackburn Vikings in Big V clash

AT THE HELM: Tim Gainey will coach the Warrnambool Seahawks on Saturday night in Matt Alexander's absence. Picture: Morgan Hancock

AT THE HELM: Tim Gainey will coach the Warrnambool Seahawks on Saturday night in Matt Alexander's absence. Picture: Morgan Hancock

THE Warrnambool Seahawks are backing in their youth to stand up to Big V’s biggest challenge on Saturday night.

The Seahawks will face Watson-conference ladder leaders Blackburn Vikings in a cross-conference battle at Knox Bastketball Stadium missing a couple of key players, with captain Alex Gynes, who isn’t travelling this season as he manages a back injury, and Brock Carter, who is unavailable, set to miss.

But their absence has opened the door for more juniors, with the in-form James Mitchell elevated to the starting line-up and Dominic Occhipinti and Hayden Rhook coming into the team.

Seahawks coach Matt Alexander said Mitchell had been having a “brilliant year” and said Occhipinti and Rhook have also shown good signs.

“I think Dom, in one or two sessions, has looked like the best player in the team,” the coach said.

“He’s a very good shooter; he’s developing very well.”

Alexander himself is also set to be an absentee on Saturday night as he and his partner await the arrival of their first child, who was due on Tuesday.

Former Warrnambool coach Tim Gainey will reprise the role for the weekend, hoping to lead the young outfit to an against-the-odds victory.

But facing adversity front-on is a skill Alexander said the Seahawks have honed this season.

“The guys really have stood up to every situation this year and have performed really well,” he said.

“I’m sure that’s going to be the case again. They’re great guys who take pride in their basketball.”

Meanwhile, the Warrnambool Mermaids will be looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they take on the Vikings in the earlier game at Knox stadium.

The Warrnambool Seahawks’ youth league side takes on Casey Cavaliers at the Arc on Saturday night before facing Mornington Breakers at Mornington on Sunday.

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