R5 Thursday Night Lights – Rams vs Giants

The teams are in for Thursday Night Lights with the Wheeler Company Canterbury Rams hosting the Mike Pero Nelson Giants in this week's nationally televised game on SKY Sports and Prime TV.

Catch all the action from 7:30pm with Huw Beynon and the Sal's NBL commentary team.



  1. On The Road - the Giants have enjoyed four straight games at home (3-1) and finally head out of town for the first time with a tough double against the Rams and Sharks. If they return home with two wins they will be over the moon, even one win will be celebrated, but a couple of losses will put them back in the pack.
  2. Rhys Vague - the Giants forward is enjoying a great season. His inside-outside game has already caused many headaches for four teams and o doubt both the Rams and Sharks will have looked long and hard at how they can go about stopping him.
  3. Tony Tolovae - the very versatile guard was thrust into the starting unit last week for the Rams and given the performance he delivered it is hard seeing him fall out of his starting position any time soon. Fresh of a Euro season, Tolovae has settled back in well and is an important piece for the Rams.
  4. The Three Ball - both teams can light it up from deep, just think Gliddon (Rams) and Vague (Giants) in particular. Across both teams there are a host of players capable of scoring from range, so defensively there is every chance you see both teams pushing up and fighting over screens.
  5. Cowles Stadium - last week's return to Cowles delivered an added boost for the Rams with a big crowd coming out to cheer them on against the Hawks. The noise and overall atmosphere in the stadium is fun to be a part of and also comes across very well on TV. If the Rams crowd can find their voice early in this game the Giants will have a bit to deal with.
  6. Mike Karena - the Rams centre got going early last week with 13pts in the opening quarter, before going on and finishing with 23pts. His finishing around the rim is improving by the week and young Tyrell Harrison will need to be right on his defensive game to help limit Karena. Back the other way, Harrison loves to get to the ring and that will equally put some pressure on Karena. If either big man gets in foul trouble it could have a big impact on the game.
  7. Jordair Jett - the Giants PG was a little quiet last week, but will no doubt bounce back hard in this game. He has some size and strength on his opposite PG, Emmett Naar, so don't be surprised if you see Jett head to the low block every now and again to try and get an advantage.
  8. Final 4 - we might have a long way to go before we start talking finals, but a game like this will be vital to the Final 4 chances of both the Rams and Giants. As important as a win is, inflicting a loss on another genuine contender it worth quite a bit.
  9.  Cam Gliddon - take a look over Gliddon's performances since arriving for game two and you will notice a steady increase across all stat lines. The shooting guard is starting to look very settled at both ends of the floor and is a key player in the Rams' aspirations this season.
  10. Ali Granger - the local Nelson boy is adding good value off the bench over the last couple of weeks and is also taking on some important 'niggling' match-ups for his team. Don't be surprised if he's a hidden factor in this game.


Game Preview
A huge game for Thursday Night Lights with the Rams (3rd) hosting the Giants (2nd). The visitors have enjoyed four successive games at home and finally hit the road for the first time this season, with games against the Rams and Sharks in the space of 24 hours. No doubt the Giants will look to the continued good form of Rhys Vague, who is proving to be one of the league’s very best inside-outside forwards, while the depth of the visitors is increasing by the week with Ali Granger, Bronson Beri and Tom Ingham starting to contribute consistent numbers. For the Rams, there was a lot to like about their win over the Hawks last week. Coach Downer has his team believing in an up-tempo game and when they are running hard the Rams are very hard to stop. Mike Karena continues to be a force around the rim, Tony Tolovae is looking very settled and Cam Gliddon is starting to become the offensive danger we all expected him to be. The Rams will deservedly start favourites at Cowles Stadium, which again should be rocking like last week, but don’t write of the Giants and their ability to consistently ‘hang’ in the contest. Either way, this will be a very close game.



Starting 5
4. Emmett Naar (guard)
3. Cam Gliddon (guard)
25. Tony Tolovae (guard)
17. Isaiah Wilkins (forward)
44. Mike Karena (forward)

5. Taylor Britt (guard)
10. Sam Smith (guard)
30. Toby Gillooly (guard)
9. Jonathan Janssen (forward)
45. Brent Fisher (forward)
24. Alex Talma (forward)
1. Luke Aston (guard)

Coach: Mick Downer
Assistant: Terry Brunel
Assistant: Piet Van Hasselt
Manager: Raewyn Britt
Physio: Lidia Belles

From The Coach – Mick Downer
We look forward to a fresh challenge this week as we welcome the Nelson Giants to the Cowles Cauldron in what should be another exciting game for the Rams faithful. Although we came away with the result in our pre-season trip to Blenheim against the Giants, that game doesn’t amount to much when it comes to the current state of play with both teams adding players to their roster since that game. Both teams are playing good basketball and the fans should be treated to a game which will feature a balance of good interior targets, three point shooters and guys who can get to the rim.



Starting 5
2. Jordair Jett (guard)
11. Daniel Grida (guard)
24. Tyrell Harrison (centre)
25. Rhys Vague (forward)
10. Samuel Dempster (forward)

6. Ali Granger (guard)
9. Tom Ingham (guard)
26. Bronson Beri (forward)
55. Kruz Perrott-Hunt (guard)

Coach: Mike Fitchett
Assistant: Phil Jones
Manager: Andrew Stevens
Physio: Ashlee Lusty

From The Coach – Mike Fitchett
After a good home-stand to start the season we finally have the chance to hit the road. We come up against two quality sides this week, so will have be right on top of our game. We are looking forward to the challenge.



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