Southland Sharks' NBL title defence looks grim

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 27/05/2014
Paul Henare
Fairfax NZ
WANTING A CROWD: Southland Sharks coach Paul Henare.

Related Links

Shamed Southland Sharks return after brawl Editorial: Sharks' wounds self-inflicted Southland Sharks' problems keep mounting

Relevant offers

Basketball

New Zealand Breakers opt for low-key buildup on eve of hectic period Steven Adams would have made world of difference for New Zealand at World Cup It's Friday night lights for Canterbury Rams Table-topping New Zealand Breakers have room for improvement Unheralded Atlanta Hawks still have a lot to prove Memphis Grizzlies end Golden State Warriors' run Steven Adams' Oklahoma City Thunder go six straight after Phoenix Suns win Seventeen-year-old Russian basketball player dies Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan to become third on NBA’s career scoring list NZ basketballers make big impressions in key wins

The Southland Sharks' attempt to defend their National Basketball League title looks bleak with the prospect of three players being booted from the competition.

The Sharks National Basketball League team was allegedly involved in what was described by a witness as an "all-in brawl" outside a New Plymouth bar early on Sunday morning.

As a result, three Southland players were charged with assault with intent to injure.

They are scheduled to appear in the New Plymouth District Court tomorrow.

National Basketball League chairman Sam Rossiter-Stead said yesterday he did not want to pre-empt what would happen in the judicial process. However, he said if the players were found guilty they would be heavily punished - that could include being stood down from playing in the competition.

"If these allegations are proved to be correct, we will initiate our process. We've always taken a tough line on these types of issues so, if players are found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, then expect there is going to be some serious consequences for them."

It is likely that zero tolerance could spell the end of the three players' season if found guilty.

It would also turn 2014 into almost mission impossible for the Sharks. They would struggle to put a competitive team on the court, let alone again be a NBL title contender.

At the best of times there has been limited depth in the Sharks roster for coach Paul Henare to call on.

To add to the situation, the Sharks are already missing starting player Gareth Dawson.

Dawson was unavailable for the Sharks' past three games for what had been described by officials as "personal issues."

It was revealed yesterday that Dawson hadtested positive for drugs and will have to wait until a hearing next month to get clarity around his sporting future.

The Sharks' next match is against Taranaki, in Invercargill on Sunday night, which is looming as a disaster.

The struggle will centre not only on trying to focus on preparing for a win, among all the distractions, but also trying to put a team on the court.

Rossiter-Stead said he was disappointed the assault allegations had put a black mark next to the NBL competition's image.

"Our crowds are packed with families and young kids, and anything that distracts from that is extremely disappointing. We've always taken a tough line on these types of issues."

Ad Feedback

Rossiter-Stead said it was disappointing that the positive strides Southland basketball had made had been tarnished by what has unfolded during the past couple of days.

In particular, he felt for the Sharks administration, most notably general manager Jill Bolger.

"I'll tell you now, Jill is the best administrator in the league; she is unbelievable. When I spoke to her yesterday, she was in a terrible state, I really feel for her because she is the hardest-working person around."

- The Southland Times

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

How do you expect the Breakers to perform in this season's Australian NBL?

Last season was a blip, they'll be champions once again

They'll go close to another title, beaten finalists I'd say

Playoffs for sure, but can't see them going any further

Not too excited, they'll miss the playoffs again

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content