Townsville were the biggest losers in round five and Sydney couldn’t repeat their heroics of the previous week, while Wollongong sent a message to the rest of the competition with a massive win over championship favourites Perth.
NEW ZEALAND 79 (Jackson 22, Pledger 16, Corletto 12) beat SYDNEY 76 (Madgen 30, Bruce 14, Lazare 9)
Who doesn’t love Mika Vukona? Well, probably most basketball fans this side of the Tasman, and those in purple most of all this week. But it’s hard not to admire the Kiwi hard man, who had 10 points and seven boards against the Kings. It was his three-pointer with four seconds left that gave the Breakers what could prove to be a crucial win at the business end of the season.
TOWNSVILLE 80 (Ervin 23, Blanchfield 12, Crawford 12) lost to CAIRNS 92 (Wilson 25, Tragardh 11, Edwards 11)
A home game against their local rivals would have been the perfect way for Townsville to register their first win of the season, but it wasn’t to be. The Crocs stormed back into the game with a 23-10 final quarter to send it to overtime but couldn’t go on with the job, slumping to a sixth successive defeat.
SYDNEY 81 (Madgen 20, Bruce 15, Lazare 14) lost to ADELAIDE 88 (Schenscher 18, Cadee 15, Weigh 14)
Ben Madgen continued his brilliant start to the season for Sydney but couldn’t prevent the Kings slipping to a second defeat of the weekend. Just a week after they turned into road warriors, the Kings came back to earth with a thud. Luke Schenscher found form for Adelaide, who had Anthony Petrie (11 boards) to thank for their 35-25 dominance of the rebound count.
MELBOURNE 91 (Ballinger 23, Goulding 15, Scott 12) beat TOWNSVILLE 66 (Crawford 15, Blanchfield 14, Abney 10)
Townsville were on the receiving end of yet another kick in the guts in the bottom-of-the-table clash. The previously winless Tigers prolonged the Crocs’ misery with a massive win as new recruit Adam Ballinger continued his promising return from injury. At 0-7, the Crocs are fast slipping out of play-off contention and the pressure is mounting on several key figures.
WOLLONGONG 100 (Deleon 26, Forman 21, Hurdle 13) beat PERTH 67 (Knight 18, Wagstaff 12, Redhage 9)
Venues NSW trumpeted the introduction of a brand new scoring system at the WIN Entertainment Centre, but it was a major source of concern before the game. The system malfunctioned minutes before tip-off and caused a 20-minute delay of the game. But the drama shouldn’t overshadow the comprehensive nature of the thrashing dished out by the Hawks, who are the last remaining unbeaten team in the competition.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Just how good is Ben Madgen? Sydney lost two from two over the weekend but Madgen still managed to produce hauls of 30 and 20 points against reigning champions New Zealand and title contenders Adelaide. Madgen was nominated for the yet-to-be-decided Player of the Month award for October and is a good shout for the Novermber gong.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Hawks GM Mili Simic was understandably disappointed with the pre-game scoreboard stuff-up in Wollongong and will be taking the matter further. “Obviously we’re pretty disappointed as a club that it wasn’t working for a game and it’s not the standard that we want to see,” Simic said. “We’re following up ourselves as to why this was the case and we expect this to never happen again… from a club perspective we’re just embarrassed that it happened in this venue.”
New Zealand 4-1
Melbourne v Adelaide (Friday)
Sydney v Wollongong (Friday)
Townsville v New Zealand (Friday)
Cairns v New Zealand (Saturday)
Adelaide v Perth (Sunday)