League legend back to his best with preseason performance

DEATH, taxes and Bryce Cotton taking over a match.

That is exactly what happened in the NBL Blitz over the weekend, as Cotton’s Perth Wildcats defeated the Cairns Taipans by seven points at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Sunday afternoon.

The Wildcats will be looking to return to postseason action after missing out over the last two years in a disappointing drop in form from the team out west. However, they still have the talent and winning DNA to get back into contention, and the Blitz was the perfect chance to showcase their intentions for the upcoming season.

Perth faced a Taipans side that made the finals last year, but lost some key personnel over the course of the off-season, meaning it was a different looking Cairns side coming into the Blitz. The Wildcats looked the stronger team at times, but still trailed by two heading into the final term. However, Perth stormed home in the last 10 minutes, overrunning the opposition en route to a 102-95 win.

As has been the case for the past decade, Cotton was the star of the show for the Wildcats, producing a vintage performance to show he has not lost a step coming into another campaign.

Cairns Taipans (95) def by. Perth Wildcats (102)

Bryce Cotton – 31 points, three rebounds, four assists

As Perth looks to return to the pointy end of the season, Cotton appears destined to be leading from the front with another ominous performance against Cairns to kick off his side’s Blitz campaign.

The three-time NBL Most Valuable Player (MVP) was back to his irrepressible best, tormenting the defence with his ability to generate scoring. Cotton has always had a knack for finding the bottom of the net, with his natural offensive ability a key factor in his sustained success.

It was once again on display against Cairns, as he dominated much of the game with ball in hand, proving too much for the opposition to handle, which may be a recurring theme this year.

He had 31 points on 10/17 shooting from the field, overcoming some close defensive attention, particularly from behind the arc. Cairns tried to make adjustments and did a reasonable job of contesting his shots from behind the arc.

However, Cotton was still able to slice through the defence with his pace and ball-handling skills proving a damaging mix, and allowing him to get to the free throw line, where he nailed nine shots on 11 attempts from the charity stripe.

Cotton was an immense presence in Perth’s win, and if he can carry this sort of form into the regular season, another trophy or two may be on the way.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments