NEWCASTLE Eagles skipper Andrew Bridge admits his personal horror show against Mersey Tigers has been giving him nightmares all week.
The veteran guard is taking full responsibility for Sunday’s shock 80-58 defeat, admitting his own contribution was not good enough for a senior member of the roster.
The Eagles were simply never at the races at the Echo Arena, falling behind early and never showing the cutting edge to haul themselves back into the game.
It was an off-day for everyone, but long-serving Bridge reckons that head coach Fab Flournoy has the right to expect more from him this season – starting with tonight’s BBL Trophy game against Glasgow Rocks (tip off, 7.30pm).
Bridge is renowned in the Eagles locker-room for being fiercely self-critical and he has clearly been deconstructing his own contribution over the past few days.
“If someone had asked me about my season so far before Sunday I would have said great,” he said.
“I was shooting well and getting around the court really well. I had no ill effects from the injury and was probably playing some of my best basketball for years.
“And then came Sunday. They were expecting a lot from me but I played so badly in that game. Some of the shots I was missing I haven’t missed since I was at school.
“I’m one of the guys that the rest of the roster look up to and I don’t really think I can afford to play that badly and expect us to still do well. We’re set up as a team where everyone has a job to do and when someone fails like I did last Sunday we’re going to struggle.
“It plays on your mind a little bit, definitely. But I’ve had a good week in training and I’m confident that I can put that to the back of my mind for the Glasgow game.”
The visit of the Rocks gives Bridge and the Eagles a good opportunity to prove that the Tigers loss was a blip.
A win tonight will book their place in the next round of the Trophy and with Trey Moore poised to make his Eagles debut for the second time, there is renewed optimism in the Newcastle camp.
The absence of impressive GB international Kieron Achara from the Rocks line-up – he left for Italian club Barcellona this week after just one game in a Glasgow vest – should also tilt things in the Eagles’ favour.
“We haven’t dwelled on the Tigers game in training this week. It’s best just to move on from it and put it down to one of those days,” he said.
“If you actually analyse it our defence wasn’t that bad.
“It was offensively where it all went to pieces. We just weren’t scoring enough points – and that is all of us, I’m not blaming anyone individually. I think before then, we were actually playing well. The Sheffield game was not a game that we would have pulled around in previous years.
“I think Trey coming in will definitely help us as well. Fab and Dave (Forrester, assistant coach) chose him specifically because he has a skill set that brings out the best in other players. And I think with him on board others might not be trying to do things that they’re not necessarily comfortable with.”
Meanwhile, Joe Chapman has made the BBL team of the week for the second time this season after his match-saving performance against Sheffield.