Newcastle Eagles Shooting Guard Andrew Bridge has vowed to fight through the pain barrier when his team take on Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders in Saturday’s BBL play-off final.
Bridge, 32, picked up a shoulder injury in the first leg of the Eagles’ semi-final against Cheshire Jets however, after being limited to just five minutes in the second leg, the veteran has declared himself available for selection for the season finale.
“It’s still pretty sore, but it’s not as bad as it could have been” said Bridge. “I’m not that concerned, but Saturday I’ll be fine. I’ve played in as much pain before. I landed on it with my whole body-weight – I didn’t even get the call! I’ll be watching it on Sky, but I’m sure I was fouled.”
If Bridge is picked to start the match he is confident that, after several ties against The Riders, he and his teammates will know what to expect from their opponents when the first whistle blows: “We’ve played them five times, and I think the last time we met they’d changed their style a bit with Sulli [Andrew Sullivan] and [Ayron] Hardy handling the ball more. That gives [Cameron] Rundles another way of attaching.”
“They have four guys who do a lot of the damage. Rundles and Bradd Wierzbicki are the scorers, with Hardy and Sulli holding them together and doing all the intangibles that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
Bridge also commented: “You can’t discount the others Tom Sherlock’s playing great and he’s been starting game. I think Royster is healthy, but Tom’s playing really well. When you’ve got a guy playing well, making plays and doing positive things, you can’t ignore him.”
Regardless of his positive mood the Eagles captain realises that his team need to improve on their most recent performance against Cheshire Jets in order to pick up the trophy: “If we come out and defend well, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win. We didn’t do that in the first half on Friday, and if we play like that again we’re in trouble. But I’m confident that won’t happen.”