Melbourne Tigers’ finals place – and the future of coach Chris Anstey – is in doubt following their loss to bottom side Townsville Crocodiles on Saturday night.
Nanjing Night Net

The Tigers dropped their fourth straight game in the 109-106 overtime loss in front of 6001 fans at Hisense Arena.

The Crocs snared the win despite having import Josh Pace out suspended and losing centre Bryan Conklin to a hamstring injury early in the third term. Veteran Steve Markovic (26 points, six assists) steered his side to victory.

Three Tigers fouled out and they shot poorly from the free throw line, with the Crocs shooting 35-of-40 free throws compared with the 21 of 31 from the Tigers.

Chris Goulding led the Tigers with 32 points while Mark Worthington added 28 points. Anstey gave his players a blistering dressing down after the match and barely held himself back in the press conference saying his players lacked effort, concentration and the will to follow his game plan.

Melbourne hasn’t made the finals since the 2008-2009 season and missing this season would put Anstey’s tenure into question.

The Tigers have four games left to seal a finals berth. An undermanned Wollongong Hawks, with just one import left due to injury, are one game behind them.

The Tigers have won their season series over the Hawks, which gives them the tie-breaker if both have the same record.

Anstey said his players lacked poise, had bad habits and couldn’t defend well.

”There are some things that are coachable and some things that are not,” Anstey said.

”We have to find an intestinal fortitude and find guys who will do anything to win. And I mean anything.

”I’m going to find a team that’s going to compete.”

Anstey also admitted to being too accommodating of his players’ egos in past weeks.

”There were too many breakdowns where what we wanted individually got in the way of what we wanted the group to achieve,” he said.

”I’m sick of caressing people’s egos to make sure they are happy and make sure they are OK because that hasn’t worked.”

The Tigers play in New Zealand on Friday night, then host Sydney Kings at Hisense Arena on Sunday.

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