Making a case for a defence

Eagles guard Andrew Bridge has revealed the Newcastle players would consider a successful defence of just one of their four BBL trophies this season as another fruitful campaign.

Eagles guard Andrew Bridge has revealed the Newcastle players would consider a successful defence of just one of their four BBL trophies this season as another fruitful campaign.

Speaking ahead of tonight's pre-season friendly with Irish double winners Cork Blue Demons, Bridge admitted expectations might need to be adjusted after the team scooped six trophies inside 18 months.

He said: "If we are competitive on all fronts then that is the most important thing.

"If we could lift one trophy then you would have to consider that a major success.

"Some people have spoken about rebuilding a new team and a season of transition but we do have a core of players who have remained.

"It will be difficult to assess just how far we can go until two or three months into the season.

"By that time we will have played most teams and will be able to make any adjustments needed to ensure we are as competitive as we can be."

This season could be huge for Bridge (pictured) and coach Fab Flournoy paid tribute to his guard at yesterday's team launch by revealing he is an ideal candidate to take over the reins as player-coach some time in the future.

It still remains to be seen whether Great Britain star Chris Haslam will commit to the Eagles after negotiations between the parties were not concluded. He attended the team launch but stayed in the background.

From both a playing perspective and off the court, the Eagles appear to hold the upper hand and hope this is enough to sway the player's decision their way.

One player absent from the team launch and tonight's game is Shawan Robinson, who is not expected to arrive until next Monday or Tuesday.

This means that, barring a favourable decision from Haslam, the Eagles will start against Cork with Walker, Flournoy, Babalola, Defoe and Bridge, who is expecting a tough game aganst the Irishmen.

He said: "Brian McCotter is Irish and knows a little bit about them.

"They will be aggressive and have a good side so we will have to be ready.

"I know the guys are raring to go and will match Cork's intensity.

"We looked really good in our first game behind closed doors against Team USA Select.

"We have watched the tape and know there are still things we need to improve on - but we are encouraged."

The Springfield Honda-backed club are looking to travel to Ireland in November for a return fixture as the two clubs begin to forge links both on and off the court.

Fans are reminded tip-off is at the later time of 8.00, although doors will open as usual at 6.30.

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