Conklin tipped to return against Giants

CALL ME LOYAL: Brian Conklin at training with the Sharks.
CALL ME LOYAL: Brian Conklin at training with the Sharks.

American import Brian Conklin is tipped to make a return for the Southland Sharks in their next outing against the Nelson Giants in Invercargill.

Conklin was named in the NBL's All Star five last year, and was one of the key players in helping the Sharks to their first NBL title.

However, Conklin went into the season nursing a hamstring injury he picked up playing for the Townsville Crocs in the Australian NBL.

He played in the Sharks' first game against the Otago Nuggets reaggravated the injury in the fourth quarter. It has left him sidelined and he has missed the Sharks' past five games but the 24-year-old is ready to return.

It will mean Dave Gruber's stint with the Sharks will come to an end.

The American who is based in Australia, where he plays for the Wollongong Hawks, was brought in as injury cover for Conklin and played in the past five games.

At late notice, Gruber has been a more than adequate replacement for Conklin, in particular in the rebounding department.

Gruber again led the way in that area against the Wellington Saints on Saturday night as the Sharks out-rebounded the competition favourites 50-33.

Offensively, coach Paul Henare also would have got more than expected out of Gruber during his time in the orange singlet. In his five games, Gruber averaged 12.4 points.

The Southland Times