Coach quiet on Sharks missing frontline player

MISSING: Southland Sharks player Gareth Dawson.
MISSING: Southland Sharks player Gareth Dawson.

Southland Sharks coach Paul Henare says he can not elaborate on why frontline player Gareth Dawson did not play on Friday night but has indicated the Sharks big man is likely to also miss road games against the Waikato Pistons and Taranaki Mountain Airs this weekend.

Dawson was a notable omission in the Sharks 92-88 win over the Pistons in Invercargill with his height and rebounding abilities missed.

On Friday night Sharks officials said his absence was because of 'personal reasons' and were not keen to elaborate further.

Henare said yesterday it was a situation where he could not go into more detail.

He said at this stage he could not say when or if Dawson would be back in the orange singlet this season.

''It is something we can't really comment on too much unfortunately, he's got some things he's dealing with at the moment. We are missing him because he's such a big body and what he brings to the table, but it's out of our control and I can not really elaborate on it.

''At this stage it is not looking likely [for Thursday night] but we can get some more information on what is going on pretty soon.''

Dawson's absence puts a spotlight on the depth of the Zero Fees-sponsored Sharks squad.

James Paringatai was required to play a lot more minutes than he has previously under Henare's watch and is set to continue to do so if Dawson is missing for an extended period.

''It was a great opportunity for James. I think he can play a little bit better, but at the same time he come up with a huge offensive rebound in the second half and I think if he gets another opportunity like that next weekend he'll get more and more comfortable with more minutes,'' Henare said.

The headaches pounded more intensely on Friday night for Henare with Dawson's absence mixed in with the Sharks having foul trouble against the Pistons.

It was a game dominated by the referees whistle.

Shea Ili, Reuben Te Rangi, Leon Henry and Paringatai all went into the final quarter on four fouls.

Ili was the first to be fouled out of the game midway through the final quarter and was followed by Te Rangi.

''I think what disrupted the whole game was the foul trouble we had to deal with. Right from the start Luke Martin was the first to get in foul trouble, he picked up two fouls quickly. I felt myself having to manage the game and manage players minutes and fouls rather than coaching the game which is the frustrating bit.''

Pistons American import Corin Henry looked almost certain to be missing in the Sharks next showdown with the Waikato team in Hamilton on Thursday night after he went down in plenty of agony in the dying seconds of the game in Invercargill.

He had to be helped from the ILT Stadium floor but remarkably the next night he fronted against the Otago Nuggets in Dunedin and helped the Pistons to a 91-88 overtime win.

''They way he went down I thought he'd been shot by a sniper but he's obviously got healing capabilities like Wolverine or it wasn't as bad as he was making out to be,'' Henare said.

In the National Basketball League game played yesterday the Super City Rangers beat the Canterbury Rams 112-97.

The Southland Times