WAGGA Heat captain Eddie Merkel is confident the team is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as he continues to grow in his leadership role.
Merkel, 22, was thrust into the position last year and has played a major role in the Heat's mini resurgence this year after they failed to win a game last season.
Last week's 67-47 home victory over Camden Valley improved their record to 2-4, including a couple of tight losses, before Saturday's clash with St George Saints Red at Bolton Park.
"Last year there was a lot of responsibility on myself and Zac (Maloney, player-coach), and a few other guys to lead like Nathan Elmer and Jacob Edwards," he said.
"We've had a few other guys come in like Chaz (Bishop, point guard) and Cameron McPherson, which has been big for our team.
"I feel like Elmer and myself have stepped up a bit leadership wise, have got the young guys to hook in a bit more and do the one percenters."
Merkel provides a solid presence for Heat inside the paint, and showed he can be damaging offensively with 18 points in the round four loss to heavyweights Shoalhaven.
"It was one of those games where my teammates trusted me," he said.
"It's one of those days where the rim's a bit bigger and the shot was feeling good."
Merkel said producing an upset in front of their home crowd on Saturday against the defending champions would give them a massive boost.
"It would be huge if we can. It would be great for momentum but we'll find out on Saturday night."
Saturday's game tips off at 5pm.
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