Sharks' import Brian Conklin's raring to return

Big Brian Conklin rates himself 100 per cent fit ahead of his comeback game for the Southland Sharks against the Nelson Giants tonight.

The 2.01 metres (6ft 5in) tall United States import has been out of the game since reinjuring his hamstring in the opening round loss to the Otago Nuggets.

Since then he's been a frustrated spectator for the past five games, although he was a little bit happier last week after Kevin Braswell's late three-pointer, which sank the Saints and helped the Sharks to a three-win, three-loss record.

"Not playing for a couple of months has driven me crazy, so it's good to get back at it," Conklin said.

"You go to practices, we have team meetings. You try to voice what you can without calling anyone out because you aren't out there running and sweating. When something needed to be said Paulie [Henare] was great, he gave me the floor to say what needed to be said."

Conklin originally damaged his hamstring late in the Australian NBL while playing for the Townsville Crocs.

It's the worst injury the former Saint Louis University product has suffered during his career and he picked up a couple of important lessons out of it.

"Definitely patience and making sure you get it fully right, how to listen to your body.

"There have been a couple of things that have been beneficial that you wish you didn't have to go through, but it's good to know them now."

With Conklin back on deck, the Zero Fees-sponsored Sharks can look to press their claims for back-to-back titles, beginning with the Giants, who have won five of their last six games to sit third on the NBL ladder.

Conklin said the Sharks would take plenty from their win over the highly rated Saints and would try and carry that into tonight's replay of last year's NBL grand final in Napier.

"It's always good to beat the Saints down here, and to get a big win for the fans.

"We've got two more tough home games down here so hopefully we can build a fortress and pack the place out."

The Southland Times