The SKYCITY Breakers are headed into enemy territory this week when they venture into Wildcats country, home court of their greatest rivals and the only other team in the past seven years to lift the Dr John Raschke Trophy as NBL winners (Breakers have won 4 and Perth 3 of those championships).

Clashes between the two teams are always amongst the best and fiercest in the ANBL given that rivalry that has built over recent years, but that doesnt faze Breakers Head Coach Paul Henare, in fact he welcomes the occasion and sees it as a highlight of the season.

"This is what we play and coach the game for, to play in a packed arena full of passionate fans who love their basketball - they just happen to love the other team and not us so much!

"The boys are looking forward to the challenge, we have a group of guys some of whom have played there before and know what to expect and also we have a group who have little experience over there, but we have spoken about what we expect and the type of team we are facing so I expect them all to be up for the challenge.

"The rivalry has come from two really good clubs with a strong tradition - albeit theirs is a lot longer than ours, but when two teams like this come together you can usually expect a big battle."

The Wildcats have made some adjustments to their roster, gone is Nathan Jawai (Cairns) and Matt Knight (injured), robbing Perth of some of their inside presence while the high scoring Jermaine Beal is now with Brisbane.

Henare says the Wildcats will be no less formidable though, and present a danger to his side across the floor.

"They are a little more athletic than they have been in the past, they have possibly lost a touch of that physicality but by bringing in players like Angus Brandt they have one of the most physical centres in the league, so we expect much of the same as usual from Perth."

The Breakers are coming off a first up win over the highly vaunted Melbourne United team in round one, with Henare saying there have been further improvements since that opening night win.

"We have continued to improve on the on-court chemistry, that is the biggest one where you continue to build and build with healthy bodies, we will continue to work on that and look to make continued improvements throughout the season."

It is also the first official road trip for new American imports Ben Woodside and Akil Mitchell, with the pre-season tournament in Brisbane set to pale against the real thing on Friday night. Both have extensive experience in hostile environments though and wont be intimidated by the biggest crowd in the NBL, with Woodside having plied his trade successfully throughout Europe for close to ten years, and Mitchell playing in some crazy environments during his US College career and short time as a pro.

The team wont dwell in Perth post-game though, they are set to head straight to the airport after the final buzzer to board a flight bound for home via Melbourne, in order to maximize the time ahead of their next game at the North Shore Events Centre on Thursday 20th October and the visit of the Sydney Kings.

Tickets for that game are selling fast with a sellout a very real prospect as former Head Coach Dean Vickerman comes to town with one of the big spenders in the off-season, bringing with him a star studded roster under the leadership of new Head Coach Andrew Gaze.

Perth Wildcats v SKYCITY Breakers

Perth Arena

Friday 14 October

11:30pm tip off NZT

Live on SKY Sport

http://www.nzbreakers.co.nz/ticketing/

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand