Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge will write a regular column for thewest.com.au during the NBL season.
I see myself as one of the luckiest coaches in the league to be with a club that has so much tradition. We are the most successful franchise in the history of the league, and to be a part of that is an honour. A lot of clubs have come and gone but the Perth Wildcats have been here forever.
It’s a real privilege to be mentioned alongside Cal Bruton, Murray Arnold, Adrian Hurley and Alan Black as a coach who has taken this great team to a championship. Once again, I consider myself very lucky.
I’ve coached another NBL franchise in Sydney and I’ve been around the NBL for a long time now, and the major reason for the Wildcats' success and longevity is the professionalism and the unwavered support that this place has, and an example of that is we are getting more than 11,000 fans to every home game at Perth Arena, and that’s unheard of. Everybody knows who we are, and they support us.
Coming from the eastern States it really felt like an “us versus them” situation, but now I consider myself a West Australian, and to see how the public get behind and support WA based teams is fantastic, the Eagles, the Dockers, the Glory all get an amazing amount of support and I think that comes down to West Aussies really wanting to see their teams get over the east.
This weekend the Wildcats celebrate their 30th Anniversary and two teams of club legends will be taking part in a special Legends Game before we take to the court. I think there will be a sense of the real glory days around on Sunday afternoon with so many famous faces to be seen.
While all those guys retired such a long time ago, everyone knows who James Crawford is, everybody knows who Ricky Grace is, Mike Ellis, Andrew Vlahov, the list goes on – these guys are legends of the game. It will be really special to be able to play in front of these icons and show them that their club is still going strong and thank them for all they’ve done to build it.
As far as their performance on the court goes, I’m sure they will just be heading out there to have a lot of fun, they won’t be playing for sheep stations, and I think it’ll be fantastic for them to play in the Perth Arena and to have a huge crowd would be fantastic for them as well as us.
However before any of this happens we face one of the most important games of our season in New Zealand against the Breakers. We’ll be throwing everything at them because we want the number one spot on the ladder. Needless to say it’s a very important weekend for this basketball club but I can’t wait to get stuck in.
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