The top two sides in last season’s BBL meet in Merseyside on Friday, but Newcastle coach Fab Flournoy does not see it as a revenge mission against the treble-winning Mersey Tigers.
Newcastle Eagles visit the Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park in far different circumstances from the last time the two clubs met, when the Tigers secured the BBL Championship title in the north east.
Last weekend, the Tigers picked up only their second win of the league season with a gripping 102-97 overtime win over Cheshire Jets, while the Eagles sit top of the BBL with seven wins from seven.
The Tigers had the best of the games between the two sides last season, knocking the Eagles out of the Trophy and Cup at the semi-final stages and winning the Championship series 3-0, but Friday’s meeting will be much different from last campaign.
Fab said: “There’s too much water under the bridge from last year. The player turnover is too great for it to be any more than just another league game.
“We haven’t seen them live yet but have watched some tape. They are obviously rebuilding but have some nice building blocks with Dave Aliu, Kris Douse and a couple of really talented young guys in Devan Bailey and Myles Hesson. And Tony will get them playing the right way.”
Friday will see a first return to Merseyside for Andrew Thomson, who was the league’s best British player last season for the Tigers, and Mersey coach Tony Garbelotto knows exactly what to expect from their north east opponents.
He said: “Newcastle are Newcastle. Fab has done a great job addressing some of their weaknesses last season and the win against the Riders was extremely impressive.
“He has everyone at peak fitness and playing his trademark intense defence and this has been the key to their victories.”