Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

NBL emerges from farcical week

By Chris Pike
22 February 2014 04:17AM EST

THE NBL returned to action on Friday night after a tumultuous and at times embarrassing week for the league with Perth, Sydney and Wollongong all recording victories.

Following last Friday night's wild scenes post-match at the Perth Arena between players and coaches of the Perth Wildcats and Adelaide 36ers, it was always going to be intriguing what ramifications would come from that and how the NBL would handle it.

However, the fact is the NBL has done nothing and it's more than a whole seven days since the incidents.

Initially, the NBL levelled charges against Wildcats star import James Ennis and 36ers coach Joey Wright for their roles in the incidents.

Ennis' chargers were later thrown out but after a complaint from the Sixers, Perth assistant Adam Tatalovich was charged with both bringing the game into disrepute and misconduct.

While there is little doubt that Tatalovich deserved to be charged along with Wright for the parts they played last Friday, nothing has come of those charges.

Wright's case was supposed to be heard by an NBL judiciary on Friday but in a move that bush leagues would be unlikely to even make, the league cancelled the hearing because 'the members of the judiciary were too busy.'

Nothing in recent memory could be more embarrassing or highlight just how much further the NBL has to go to become a well-run professional sporting league in Australia.

While the NBL will likely get a relatively free pass for this embarrassment due to the overall lack of interest from the public and media across the country, there is no way that any other sporting body claiming to be professional would postpone a tribunal hearing for such a baseless reason.

The fact that the NBL could not put together a group of people to hear the case of Wright before his team plays the next week is unacceptable and can in no way, shape or form excused.

Even more bizarrely, a date has not even been set for Tatalovich's hearing or the now rescheduled hearing for Wright.

This is just the latest example of the new NBL hierarchy not having planned things through well enough when demerging from Basketball Australia.

Despite an inability to efficiently run an eight-team competition, the chief executive continues to trumpet expansion plans despite the majority of the current clubs operating at significant losses and drawing poor crowds while TV ratings struggle to beat the SBS test pattern.

That wasn’t the only thing making it a big week in the NBL, though, with Sydney Kings import Charles Carmouche forced to return home for personal reasons, Wollongong Hawks import Kevin Tiggs going down injured and Townsville Crocs import Josh Pace suspended for drink driving.

It was a massive sigh of relief for the NBL for the focus to return to the court on Friday night with three matches taking place that saw Wollongong beat the New Zealand Breakers 88-68, Sydney down the Cairns Taipans 85-63 and the Wildcats defeat the Melbourne Tigers 87-75.

Those results mean that Perth has all but sewn up the minor premiership with an 18-6 record with only four games remaining to sit ahead of the 14-8 Adelaide.

Sydney improved to third position on an 11-10 record just ahead of the fourth-placed Melbourne on 12-11.

Wollongong sits just outside the top-four on 10-13 followed by New Zealand (9-13), Cairns (9-15) and Townsville (7-14).

The first match of the evening took place at the WIN Entertainment Centre with the Hawks continuing their season-best form winning a fourth straight match with a 20-point thumping of the three-time defending champion Breakers.

Import shooting guard Rotnei Clarke once again was the star for Wollongong finishing with 28 points and three assists on the back of shooting 10-of-20 from the field.

Captain Oscar Forman added 13 points and five rebounds for the Hawks with Dave Gruber scoring 10 points, Tim Coenraad 10, Larry Davidson 10 and Rhys Martin seven to go with 10 rebounds and five assists.

Mika Vukona top-scored for New Zealand with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists with Corey Webster the only other Breakers player to score in double-figures with 11 points.

The action then turned to the Cairns Convention Centre with the Kings romping to a 22-point victory with Sydney now having won six of its last eight games while the Taipans are out of the playoff hunt now with four successive defeats.

Sam Young led the way for the Kings in Cairns finishing with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists while centre AJ Ogilvy contributed 17 points and five boards.

Ben Madgen also scored 13 points despite shooting just 4-of-15 from the field for the night.

Cameron Gliddon top-scored for the Taipans with 12 points with Alex Loughton finishing with 11 points, Stephen Weigh 11 and Mitch Young 10.

And finally at the Perth Arena, the Wildcats beat the Tigers by 12 points to all but secure the minor premiership and make Melbourne's job of securing a playoff spot all the tougher.

The Tigers have now lost their last three matches since beating both Perth and Wollongong on the road on January 24 and 26.

Captain Damian Martin led the way for the Wildcats finishing the night with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists while Jermaine Beal added 17 points.

Jesse Wagstaff also scored 12 points for Perth while Ennis was restricted to just nine points, five rebounds and five assists on the back of shooting just 2-of-10 from the floor.

Mustapha Farrakhan top-scored for the Tigers with 16 points while Lucas Walker added 15, Scott Morrison 14 and Chris Goulding 10.

Round 19 of the NBL will now continue on Saturday night with Townsville hosting Sydney at the Swamp and then on Sunday afternoon, Adelaide takes on New Zealand at the Adelaide Arena.

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)