Manchester Giants head to Newcastle to clip Eagles’ wings and break ‘winning culture’

By Phil Jones

Manchester Giants coach Jeff Jones wants to break Newcastle Eagles’ ‘culture of winning’, as his side go in search of their first road win on Friday.

The Giants are still without a win from seven away fixtures this season, and life will not get any easier against the reigning league champions.

Top of the table Newcastle have already beaten tenth-placed Giants twice this season, edging a tight game in Manchester before winning comfortably in the North East.

“The Eagles have a culture of wining which is demonstrated in their belief in each other and you couple that with very good players, it is tough to beat,” said Jones.

“At our place we competed for the 40 minutes and played pretty well up at their place, we played well in the warm-up and that was about it.

“They have done what they do, go on about their business of trying to win as many games and trophies as they can.

“They have players that can hurt you from every position and the best thing is their players know their roles, but are capable of stepping up when other players are hurt.

Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy may have seen his team lose just two games from fifteen in the BBL this season.

But the New York native is cautious of improving forward Ben Eaves after his star performance against Durham Wildcats, and the Giants shooting threat.

“Ben Eaves has certainly become more important for them as he has become integrated and Stuart Thomson will give them more size and athleticism at the wing position.

“We have a familiarity with most of their personnel now – Devan Bailey has stepped up this year and James Jones, David Watts and Stefan Gill are always perimeter threats, working around Dave Aliu.

“We have to play good perimeter defence on them which is something we did a better job of in the second game than in the first.”

A Giants win would boost confidence ahead of critical games against Mersey Tigers and Sheffield Sharks, both around them in the league table, before New Year.

Picture courtesy of Jack Hinds Photography, with thanks.

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