Van Pelt staying focused after team falls against talented Wolves

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Wolves’ Victor-Gabriel Chadinha and Giants’ Randy Bell during their NBL1 West clash at Niels Hansen Stadium on Saturday.
Camera IconWolves’ Victor-Gabriel Chadinha and Giants’ Randy Bell during their NBL1 West clash at Niels Hansen Stadium on Saturday. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Three games into his tenure as the Goldfields Giants’ men’s NBL1 coach, Matt Van Pelt says the squad’s tough early draw had identified key areas for improvement he hoped could be quickly addressed.

The Giants are ninth with one win and two losses after emerging from Saturday night’s home-opener against Joondalup Wolves at Niels Hansen Stadium on the wrong side of a 94-84 scoreline.

It followed an 87-78 road loss six days earlier against Rockingham Flames, who have opened the season with five consecutive wins and trail only Joondalup, who are also unbeaten.

But rather than being discouraged, Van Pelt on Monday said back-to-back games against two of the division’s premier teams would ultimately help his group.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


The Giants led 71-65 at the last change against Joondalup before being outscored 29-13, preserving the visitors’ perfect start to 2024.

De’Sean Parsons and Randy Bell led the Giants’ offence with 28 points and 18 points, respectively.

“These are two of the best teams, but I don’t mind that — the fact we get some of the top dogs early, see where we’re at and what’s needed to compete with the best teams,” Van Pelt said.

Giants coach Matt Van Pelt.
Camera IconGiants coach Matt Van Pelt. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

“That we led both teams in the last quarter shows that we’ve got a chance to compete, but we have a few things to work and improve on.

“I think we’ll have a fairly balanced attack this year but through the opening (three) games, we haven’t shot the ball well from the outside.

“It always helps when you make shots, and we have guys who can shoot, but we shot at 24 per cent from three (point range against Joondalup).

“We’re making some good looks but it (the Giants’ outside shooting) was 21 per cent in our first game (against Lakeside) so we’ve got to start spacing the floor a little bit which will help out De‘Sean and Randy, who are both really good at attacking the basket.

“That would definitely help our cause.”

On building consistency across the entire squad, Van Pelt expected it would be sooner rather than later.

“Now it’s about trying to add that consistency to our performances and balancing out our attack, which I think will start to happen naturally as we hit some more shots and guys gain some confidence from the outside,” he said.

“I think we have a good group — there’s really not a bad guy on the team, and they’re all committed to putting the team first.

“There’s no one with an alternative agenda, they’re listening to what I say for the most the part, and look to be on a string with our defensive systems.

“Defensively, we made some errors (against Joondalup) that we hadn’t made, either in our training camp or the first two games.

“After the first weekend we were actually second in defence, but we weren’t consistent in our defensive principles in this last game against the Wolves.

“We have to shore up a few things there, but as far as everyone buying in, the guys definitely understand that and are committed to everything we’re doing.”

The Giants are also at home this Saturday night against the South West Slammers.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails