WOLLONGONG guard Rhys Martin believes star import Adris Deleon will line up for the match against the Taipans at the Cairns Convention Centre on Sunday, despite the guard still suffering from an abdominal strain.
Deleon trained on Friday after sitting out Thursday's session and has travelled with the team that will look to continue heaping woe on a Cairns side that has not won at home in four games.
''He's a professional basketball player, he's going to play,'' Martin said. ''You don't wait till you're 100 per cent to play, you can play through some injuries. He'll be fine.''
Critical to restricting the Taipans' scoring will be limiting ex-Hawks big man Cam Tragardh to the perimeter and not letting the power forward any easy baskets from inside the key, a trademark of the Hawks this season through the defensive work of in-form forwards Larry Davidson and Oscar Forman.
In their two previous meeting this season the Hawks have limited the Taipans to fewer than 60 points on their way to a 7-1 record.
''They have been great for us all season,'' coach Gordie McLeod said. ''Our defence and rebounding has been really strong this season and a lot of it is up to those guys. Obviously we've learned plenty of lessons from when we've played them before as I'm sure they have about us. It's certainly going to be a tough contest.''
Martin believes the Taipans' athleticism and pace in transition will need to be countered if the Hawks are to limit their fast-break opportunities. ''They've got some really athletic guys,'' he said. ''[Guard] Brad Hill loves to get out there and run, so if we can limit them to a half-court game and grind away and make it a defensive contest then that's going to help us.''
The Taipans will be motivated by milestone games for veterans Dusty Rychart and Aaron Grabau, who will be playing their 300th and 400th NBL game respectively.
''That will motivate them, it's an amazing achievement,'' Martins said. ''If you combine that with a team losing a few at home, they'll be desperate to deliver in front of their home fans. It's going to be dangerous playing them.''