Basketball fans have been left seeing red as they tuned in to catch a glimpse of Lauren Jackson put on a show in her farewell game.

The 41-year-old Jackson showed off one final time why she’s the greatest basketball player Australia has produced with an absurd 30-point display to guide the Opals to the bronze medal.

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After playing only sparingly throughout the majority of the tournament, Jackson wound the clock back when it mattered most in a stunning 21-minute outing as the Aussies demolished Canada 95-65 to win the bronze.

But in the final stages of the game, with Jackson fouled and heading to the line to attempt to bring up her 29th and 30th points … the broadcast feed cut out.

Jackson buried both free throws before she was taken out of the game to a standing ovation from the fans and rapturous celebrations from her teammates.

Fans watching the ESPN TV broadcast however missed it all and angered quickly ensued on social media.

After the game, ESPN issued a statement in which they apologised to fans for the broadcast error and posted a link to watch Jackson’s final moments in green and gold.

“We apologise for the issues on the Foxtel broadcast at the end of the Opals game. We are investigating the issue. The broadcast is continuing uninterrupted via Kayo and the E-App,” the statement read.

“The feed has been restored on Foxtel and there will be a replay of the closing moments of the Opals game before the World Cup Final.”

Jackson spoke after the game and said she felt tears coming.

“Right before the game, it dawned on me, it literally hit me that this was going to be the last game I ever play for Australia,” she told ESPN.

“Because of how special this whole tournament has been, this whole journey has been for me, I got pretty emotional about it before I left.”

Jackson released a statement on Saturday morning confirming it would be her last match in the green-and-gold, ending a glittering career which included four WNBL MVPs and five titles, three WNBA MVPs and two WNBA titles as well as a World Championship gold medal in 2006, three Olympic silvers and an Olympic bronze amid a host of other accolades including induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It dawned on me that this will be last ever game in green and gold and how lucky I am to have had this opportunity to represent Australia and also say goodbye, I didn’t get that chance all those years ago. I’m so proud of our Opals girls and regardless of the result this has been the most incredible journey of my basketball life.”

Lauren Jackson’s career in green and gold is over but one of the greatest of all-time has gone nuts as Australia claimed bronze at the Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The 41-year-old retired back in 2016 due to chronic injury but the Hall of Famer shocked everyone when she came back and was thrust into the Aussie World Cup squad.

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While Jackson has been a bit player in Australia’s tournament having tallied and average 6.1 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.1 assists in her limited game-time, her swansong was something special.

Jackson scored a game-high 30 points as well as seven rebounds in just 21 minutes.

Opals great Michelle Timms was in disbelief, stating “this is insane” just before Jackson hit her 30th point.

The dream of gold medal send off against Team USA ended on Friday night when the Opals lost a heartbreaker to China 61-59, resigning the team to a bronze medal playoff against Canada.

But the Aussies made no mistake, scoring a 95-65 thrashing on the shoulders of Jackson’s perfect final statement.

Retired Opals skipper Jenna O’Hea said on ESPN after the match Jackson’s legacy was further cemented with her final act.

“She’s the GOAT,” O’Hea said.

“She’s done it on the absolute world stage, everywhere she goes, she’s a winner and she was not leaving here without that bronze medal.
“If you ask who the greatest players are, she’s always in the conversation. That’s not just females — it’s just basketball players. And that’s the legacy she has.”

Jackson spoke after the game and said she felt tears coming.

“Right before the game, it dawned on me, it literally hit me that this was going to be the last game I ever play for Australia,” she told ESPN.

“Because of how special this whole tournament has been, this whole journey has been for me, I got pretty emotional about it before I left.”

Jackson said she had no idea where her 30 point game came from.

She thanked her family and her children for the sacrifieds they have made.

Throughout the broadcast, the commentators said that the Paris Olympics was just two years away, could she make it?

“No way,” Jackson said before the statement left Neroli Meadows’ mouth. “Absolutely no way, my kids would absolutely… I couldn’t do it to my children. It’s just taken too much to get here. But it’s been amazing.”

The bronze medal match made Jackson the equal all-time leader in World Cup matches with her 43rd match, while she also is the third highest scorer in history.

Jackson released a statement on Saturday morning confirming it would be her last match in the green-and-gold, ending a glittering career which included four WNBL MVPs and five titles, three WNBA MVPs and two WNBA titles as well as a World Championship gold medal in 2006, three Olympic silvers and an Olympic bronze amid a host of other accolades including induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It dawned on me that this will be last ever game in green and gold and how lucky I am to have had this opportunity to represent Australia and also say goodbye, I didn’t get that chance all those years ago. I’m so proud of our Opals girls and regardless of the result this has been the most incredible journey of my basketball life.”

It’s unknown whether this will also bring an end to Jackson’s career with Albury-Wodonga in the NBL1 competition as well but the reaction was swift.

NBL star Mitch Creek posted: “You’re a champion! Amazing tournament so far by you all. Not done yet! Let’s gooooo”.

Tennis great Rennae Stubbs added: “AussieLegend and Icon!!”

AFL great Brendan Fevola simply posted the goat emoji.

Former Aussie teammate Tully Bevilaqua wrote: “Love love love you!!”

Three-time Olympic Opals and Boomers coach Brendan Joyce commented: “Congratulations on a wonderful career LJ”.

Retired Opals skipper Jenna O’Hea said on ESPN before the match: “In her message, she said she didn’t get to say goodbye all those years ago when she retired. If this won’t inspire this team then nothing will.

“Lauren has been a hero to pretty much every person in this team. We all grew up watching her and now they get to play alongside her and hopefully win a bronze medal with her.”

Jackson had a hero’s welcome to the game, being met by her family and supporters outside the team hotel and easily getting the loudest cheer when the team was introduced onto the court.

And the festivities continued well after the final siren as fans went berserk for the legendary Aussie.

Queensland batter Laura Harris has shattered the all-time record for fastest WNCL century, reaching the milestone in just 50 deliveries against the ACT Meteors on Saturday afternoon.

The 32-year-old took advantage of Bill Pippen Oval’s short boundaries, smacking eight boundaries and eight sixes during the rain-affected contest on the Gold Coast.

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Queensland was 3/92 when Harris came to the crease in the 22nd over, combining with Fire teammate Mikayla Hinkley for a 127-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

The powerful right-hander raced to her half-century, her fourth 50+ score in the WNCL, in just 23 deliveries before rain briefly paused her demolition.

Following the brief delay, Harris brought up her maiden WNCL century with a glorious six down the ground, celebrating the stunning feat by throwing her arms in the air and embracing Hinkley.

“I try not to look at the scoreboard as much as I can … because I just overthink it and then it all turns a bit silly,” Harris explained after the match.

“I actually didn’t even know that I had hit the hundred until I turned around and said to (Hinkley), ‘What was that they were clapping?’

“I’m a pretty chronic overthinker, but that comes with the game.”

The previous record for fastest WNCL century was held by Victoria’s Jess Duffin, who scored a 56-ball century against South Australia in November 2012.

Harris, one of the Brisbane Heat’s most destructive batters in the Women’s Big Bash League, previously boasted a career-best score of 65 in 50-over cricket.

Last month, Queensland coach Ashley Noffke predicted that a destructive knock from Harris was just around the corner.

“I think there’s a dangerous Laura Harris on the horizon for the opposition,” he told cricket.com.au.

“She did well against New South Wales and Victoria (in pre-season), which was really nice to see. And she proved her worth in the first round of Premier cricket last week, scoring 80 off 30 balls, so there’s a danger sign there for bowlers this season.”

Harris was eventually removed by Meteors young gun Carly Leeson for 101, helping Queensland register an imposing total of 4/270 from 47 overs before rain intervened once again.

Former Australia seamer Holly Ferling was the pick of the ACT bowlers with figures of 1/34 from nine overs, while Leeson claimed two wickets.

Hinkley finished unbeaten on 65 from 92 deliveries, a career-best in the WNCL.

Queensland ultimately won by 47 runs through the DLS Method, with Courtney Sippel and Grace Parson each taking two wickets during the run chase.

Earlier on Saturday, the ACT were deducted 0.5 match points on the WNCL ladder for slow over rates during last weekend’s match against Western Australia, falling one over behind the expected rate.

Meteors captain Katie Mack received one strike for the misdemeanour.

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Dwight Yorke has made an immediate impact at Macarthur FC, guiding the Bulls to Australia Cup glory.

Two penalties — one each scored by Al Hassan Toure and captain Ulises Davila ­— proved the difference in Saturday night’s Cup final, with Macarthur defeating NPL NSW club Sydney United 58 2-0 in front of 16,461 fans at CommBank Stadium.

The win earned the Bulls their first piece of silverware in just their third season of existence after joining the A-League in 2020.

In his first senior coaching job after taking over from Ante Milicic following the completion of the Bulls’ 2021-22 campaign, former Manchester United star Yorke has had instant success and has Macarthur primed for the new A-League season, which starts on Friday.

Macarthur went ahead in the 32nd minute via a Toure spot kick after Davila was fouled in the box by Anthony Tomelic.

Davila, who was awarded the Mark Viduka Medal for his man-of-the-match performance, then sealed the win in the dying stages with a penalty of his own after a foul on Bulls substitute Craig Noone.

Emotions overflowed after the match for Davila, whose wife tragically passed away in May.

There was controversy before the opening whistle, with Sydney United 58 fans chanting during the Welcome to Country speech.

Originally published as Football 2022: Macarthur FC wins Australia Cup, defeating Sydney United 58 2-0

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The “Working Class Man” Jimmy Barnes will headline the NRL Grand Final entertainment as rugby league took an all-Aussie approach to the pre-match show.

Barnes has headlined the NRL decider previously as Cold Chisel rocked out the 2015 Grand Final between the Cowboys and Broncos.

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It’s been a wild week for Barnes, having been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia earlier in the week alongside legendary Star Trek actor George Takei.

Barnes was recognised for his ability to “overcome adversity and countless setbacks”.

“If you want a gold standard for the unstoppable career, then Jimmy Barnes is it,” Vice Chancellor David Lloyd said.

Barnes took to Facebook writing: “I am both humbled and proud to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate awarded to me by the University of South Australia. What an Honour. The magnitude of this occasion has only just sunk in. You can see I can’t stop smiling.”

In a video of the end of his speech, Barnes, whose first job was pumping petrol after being born in the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, paid an emotional tribute to his roots.

“I accept it on behalf of all the auto workers in Elizabeth, all the petrol pumpers and the guys that pour molten metal, who weren’t lucky enough to escape,” Barnes said.

“May their children and grandchildren have the opportunity to enter great institutions like this one through the front gate and not have to jump the fence.”

His wild week will culminate with the headline slot at the Grand Final.

The NRL Grand Final is scheduled to start at 7.30pm and will be broadcast live on Channel 9 and Nine Now.

Who will perform?

The NRL Grand Final Pre-Game Show will be headlined by Jimmy Barnes with friends including ARIA-winning singer-songwriters Diesel and special guest Josh Teskey, alongside award-winning Indigenous singer-songwriter Emma Donovan and Eurovision star Sheldon Riley.

The NRLW will have a pre-game show as powerhouse soul and blues vocalist Mahalia Barnes, Western Sydney’s new queen of hip-hop and RnB A. GIRL and Emma Donovan team up to deliver a re-imagining of iconic Aussie classic, “The Real Thing”.

Australian hip-hop legends Bliss n Eso (featuring JOY.) will perform their hit, “Moments” as part of the tribute to the game’s retiring and departing players.

The NRL will acknowledge 21 retiring or departing players including 300-gamers Aiden Tolman and Josh Morris, who will retire alongside his twin brother and 274-gamer Brett.

“The retiring and departing players tribute is an important moment in our season and for our game, on our biggest day,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate and thank the players who have provided so much to rugby league over their careers. We also acknowledge the contribution of their partners and families.

“The male and female players in our game are amazing athletes and they are also important leaders in the community. Their contributions are part of the wonderful story and history of rugby league and will be remembered and celebrated long into the future.”

NRL Grand Final Timetable

1pm – Gates Open

1.20pm — NRL State Championship, Penrith Panthers v Norths Devils

3:30pm — NRLW Grand Final Pre-Game Show — Mahalia Barnes, A. GIRL, Emma Donovan

3.55pm — NRLW Grand Final, Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels

6:30pm — NRL Grand Final Pre-Game Show — Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Josh Teskey, Emma Donovan, Sheldon Riley

7.30pm — NRL Grand Final kicks off, Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels

New South Wales has been utterly embarrassed in the Marsh Cup, recording its lowest score in List A cricket as Western Australia secured a comprehensive nine-wicket victory in Perth.

A green WACA deck greeted the captains on Saturday morning, and Blues skipper Kurtis Patterson elected to bat first after winning the toss — a decision that quickly backfired.

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West Australian pacemen Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson, who recently returned from injury, put together a swing bowling masterclass during the Powerplay, taking six wickets in quick succession to demolish the Blues top-order.

Daniel Hughes, Matthew Gilkes and Jason Sangha each registered ducks as the tourists collapsed to 6/20 in the ninth over.

The white Kookaburra was hooping around corners at the WACA, with variable bounce also frustrating the hapless batters.

“It’s a nightmare start for the visitors,” commentator Brenton Speed said on Fox Cricket.

New South Wales all-rounders Sean Abbott and Daniel Sams somewhat revived the innings, combining for a 38-run partnership for the seventh wicket to help avoid the lowest domestic one-day cup score in history.

But West Australian seamers Andrew Tye and Matthew Kelly cleaned up the tail to roll the Blues for 76 within 22 overs, bettering the state’s previous lowest score of 92 against Queensland at the Gabba in 1973.

Lowest team totals for New South Wales in domestic one-day cricket

76 vs Western Australia in 2022, WACA

92 vs Queensland in 1973, Gabba

112 vs South Australia in 2008, SCG

116 vs Western Australia in 1995, SCG

120 vs Victoria in 2002, MCG

It was the equal seventh-lowest total in Australian men’s one-day domestic history and also the third-lowest score Western Australia has conceded in 50-over cricket.

ABC reporter Sam Tomlin tweeted: “While I’m no expert, batting first on this against Richardson/Behrendorff/Kelly may not have been the wisest call.”

Sams top-scored for the Blues with 26, while Abbott and Test spinner Nathan Lyon were the only other batters to reach double figures.

Player of the Match Richardson finished with career-best figures of 4/24 from eight overs, while Behrendorff took 3/17 from his seven overs.

“To be able to get back out there on the WACA in a bit of sunshine, take some wickets and do a job for the team is really exciting,” Richardson said after the victory.

“They’re building blocks for what is hopefully a bit summer.

“The wicket and the conditions were probably in our favour – a good toss to lose I reckon.”

Western Australia chased the 77-run target with 198 deliveries to spare, making it the third-largest victory in terms of balls remaining in one-day cup history.

Young gun Josh Philippe finished 37 not out off 46 balls, with Blues seamer Liam Hatcher claiming the lone wicket in the run chase by removing opening D’Arcy Short for 18 in the 13th over.

Largest victory in Australian domestic one-day cup by balls remaining

233 – Victoria vs CA XI, October 2015 at Hurstville Oval

209 – Western Australia vs TAS, October 2014 at the Gabba

198 – Western Australia vs NSW, October 2022 at the WACA

195 – Tasmania vs SA, March 2021 at Junction Oval

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The 2022 Australia Cup between Sydney United 58 and Macarthur FC has been condemned by those watching on over horrific behaviour.

16,461 fans packed into CommBank Stadium to watch Macarthur claim the 2-0 victory, but it was scenes from the crowd that had those watching on up in arms.

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As Erin Wilkins stood at the microphone doing the Welcome to Country, raucous fans in the crowd continued to chant and make noise throughout.

Unfortunately shortly after a chorus of boos could be heard reigning down on Wilkins as she made her way through the welcome to country.

Sadly things got even uglier once the game got underway as the cameras panned around the stadium showing the packed crowd.

NSW National Premier Leagues (NPL) outfit Sydney United 58 fans in the stands however came under fire from those watching on.

As fans continued to watch the broadcast, they were quick to point out what looked to be fans doing Nazi salutes.

Images of several fans with their right arm raised in an upward motion quickly began to circulate on social media with many disgusted by what they were seeing.

“Sydney United getting to the Final was meant to be a good thing. First NPL club ever to do it. Instead it exposed neo Nazis in their own supporter group. Hope the whole club is throughly investigated. These people shouldn’t be welcome in Football in this country,” presenter Jake Buckley tweeted.

If the salutes weren’t bad enough, the crowd chants also came under fire from those watching on with fans labelling the entire spectacle “an embarrassment”.

“This is the worst outcome for Aus Football. What should be something of celebration, historic team, semi pro, making the final. But instead, we’ve got Nazi symbolism and salutes, booing of the welcome to country. What an embarrassment to the game and this country,” football presenter Michael Turner wrote.

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The World Chess Champion has spoken – once again.

Norwegian chess grand master Magnus Carlsen, 31, has provided more context on why he withdrew from a highly anticipated virtual match against American grand master Hans Niemann, 19, last week after just one move.

Niemann was formerly banned from Chess.com after he admitted to cheating twice before – once when he was 12 and again when he was 16, the New York Post reports.

His mentor, Maxim Dlugy, 56, was also suspended in 2017 for allegedly cheating.

Carlsen, who ranks number one globally, withdrew for the first time in his career during the Sinquefield Cup a few weeks ago after losing to Niemann – who was the lowest ranked in the competition – in a third-round defeat.

“At the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I made the unprecedented professional decision to withdraw from the tournament after my round three game against Hans Niemann,” Carlsen said in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday.

“A week later during the Champions Chess Tour, I resigned against Hans Niemann after playing only one move.

“I know that my actions have frustrated many in the chess community. I’m frustrated,” he admitted.

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“I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events.”

In the moment, announcers Peter Leko and Tania Sachdev were taken by surprise at the withdrawal, with Ms Sachdev saying it was an “unprecedented” move and that Carlsen was “making a very big statement”.

Many fans wondered if Carlsen bowed out because Niemann was cheating – which Carlsen addressed in the letter.

“I believe that cheating in chess is a big deal and an existential threat to the game,” he continued on Monday.

“I also believe that chess organisers and all those who care about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and methods of cheat detection for over the board chess.

“When Niemann was invited last minute to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I strongly considered withdrawing prior to the event. I ultimately chose to play.

“I believe that Niemann has cheated more – and more frequently – than he has publicly admitted. His over the board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do.

“This game contributed to changing my perspective.”

In a statement posted on September 9, Chess.com’s chief chess officer Danny Rensch wrote on behalf of the website: “We have shared detailed evidence with him concerning our decision, including information that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com.”

“We must do something about cheating, and for my part going forward, I don’t want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future,” Carlsen continued, doubling down in his statement.

“There is more that I would like to say. Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly.

“So far I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have stated clearly that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope that truth on this matter comes out, whatever it may be.”

At the time of publication, Niemann has not responded to Carlsen’s cheating allegations.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

Gavin Escobar, a former tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, died in an apparent rock climbing accident in California, he was 31.

Escobar and Chelsea Walsh, 33, were identified as dead by the Riverside County sheriff’s coroner’s office, according to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, the NY Post reports.

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Firefighters discovered the pair dead on Wednesday in the San Bernardino National Forest near Tahquitz Rock.

Escobar was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round in 2013 out of San Diego State University. He played for Dallas from 2013 through 2016.

The former tight end joined the Long Beach Fire Department this past February.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the off-duty death of Long Beach Firefighter Gavin Escobar. Hired on February 5, 2022, Firefighter Escobar was assigned to Fire Station 3 on B-shift,” the Long Beach Fire Department wrote on Instagram.

“Firefighter Escobar leaves behind his wife and two young children.”

It was not immediately clear if Escobar and Walsh were experienced climbers.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the circumstances of the deaths.

After the Cowboys, Escobar spent time with the Chiefs, Ravens, Dolphins and Browns (in a couple of those spots he was on the practice squad or off-season roster, but was not on the active roster during the season).

In his career, Escobar had 30 catches for 333 yards and eight touchdowns.

In 2019, he played for the San Diego Fleet of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.

Sydney signing Kouat Noi lost his love for basketball at the Cairns Taipans, but after losing 12 kilos this off-season he is ready to rediscover his inner fire at the Kings.

Two seasons of substandard results at the Taipans weighed heavily on Noi, sparking him to feel downcast and disinterested.

The Newcastle-raised forward knew he was spiralling to a dark place, so he jumped at the chance to re-energise his promising career with the championship-winning Kings.

“I just had to find that love for basketball again,” Noi told News Corp.

“The last two years with Cairns I couldn’t find that high level of basketball, so this off-season I really reconnected with my career, and it was the best thing for me.

“I didn’t think about walking away from basketball, but we were just losing, and that environment wasn’t healthy for me.

“I needed a new scene and with the Kings winning the championship, I thought the winning environment would help me a lot.”

Noi is also in the best physical shape of his career following a successful off-season stint with USC Rip City in the NBL1 competition.

He starred for Rip City, averaging 26 points and 13 rebounds, to pick up the NBL1 North MVP and lead the team to the Grand Final series before losing to the Gold Coast. His time on the Sunshine Coast was also hugely beneficial for his body.

The extra training and game time allowed Noi to drop a whopping 12 kilos.

“I wanted to make a big emphasis to lose the weight to find my best form again,” he said. “I took it very seriously from the start.

“That’s what I did and now I’m at the Kings and I’m feeling as strong as ever.”

Noi is loving life in Sydney, but he could’ve landed at the Kings last season if coach Chase Buford had his way.

Buford made inquiries about the forward, but no deal eventuated as he was contracted with Cairns.

“Chase has always told me that he has been watching me since my College days at Texas Christian University,” Noi said about Buford, who has long been an admirer of his athleticism and natural hoops gifts.

“When he arrived last season, he would always say hello to me, so I knew there was interest.

“The Kings reached out to me straight away as soon as I became a free agent. They went out of their way to make sure that I was part of their team.

“Now it’s good to be finally coached under Chase.”

It hasn’t taken Noi long to find his feet at the Kings.

He is relishing in a franchise that demands excellence, on-and-off the court.

“It’s great, you have to come in and work hard and that is what I wanted,” he said.

“I wanted that extra push to get the best out of me.

“We’ve got good young and older guys, so we’re talented across the board.

“It’s exciting. I’ve been working really hard, and I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Sydney’s local rivals, Illawarra, are facing a franchise-defining season.

The departure of super coach Brian Goorjian and key players Duop Reath, Antonius Cleveland and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, has forced the Hawks to rebuild.

On the plus side, import guard Justin Robinson looks like a quality signing.

Robinson, who has spent the last three seasons in the NBA with Milwaukee, OKC, Detroit, Sacramento, and Washington, looked impressive at the pre-season Blitz in Darwin.

He regularly stuffed the stat sheet, with double-figure points and multiple assists

Forgot about Nate? Boomers star under radar amid Baynes show

It’s been the Aron Baynes headline show at the Brisbane Bullets in the pre-season, but Bullets guard Nathan Sobey also deserves attention.

That’s the opinion of fellow Bullets guard Jason Cadee, who says Sobey is primed for a bumper season coming back from knee injury.

The bronze medal-winning Boomer displayed glimpses of his best at the pre-season Blitz in Darwin despite being on a minutes restriction.

Sobey’s standout performance came in a one-point win over Cairns when he had 10 points and five rebounds in 10 minutes on the floor.

It was an impressive effort given he hadn’t played since February when a knee injury prematurely ended his season.

Sobey is now fully fit, and Cadee is expecting big things from his skipper in the 2022/2023 season.

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“Sobes is kind of the forgotten person at the moment,” Cadee said.

“That always happens when someone has been out for a period of time, but I always feel confident playing alongside Sobes because he does the little things well.

“He is back to full strength, and he has ticked off every box in the lead up to that.

“Having a healthy Nathan Sobey will only enhance our chances this season.”

BRIMMING WITH CONFIDENCE

Cadee has been at the Bullets since 2018, but he has never felt this confident heading into a season.

He says the additions of key signings Aron Baynes and Tyler Johnson, who both have extensive NBA experience, has particularly fuelled his belief.

“This year is definitely different,” he said.

“I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself and I’m pretty realistic with it, because I’ve been around long enough to know how these things go.

“You need a lot of luck and things to go your way, but early days it definitely seem like a group that has different levels and gears that we can get to that I haven’t seen from the group for a period of time.

“You can’t help but be excited about that, but also know that there is a lot of work to be done to get to the highest gear level.”

BANGERS AND SPLASH

Baynes will be at the centre of Brisbane’s success this season.

The 2014 NBA champion and Boomers veteran has already given the Bullets a more intimidating edge, according to Cadee.

“Signing Baynes for me wasn’t about him killing it and averaging 30 points and 20 rebounds,” he said.

“It was more his presence and what his presence will do and how others will feel it.

“It’s something the Bullets haven’t had – someone who can really impose and add to our group.

“The refs, our opposition, the NBL – all have to look at Brisbane differently now that we’ve got an Aron Baynes there.

“Aron is so excited to be back on a basketball court and around basketball again.

“He can even talk too much sometimes, which I don’t see as a bad thing because it shows how much he cares and how well he wants to do.”

Originally published as NBL23: Eyes on the prize on the eve of the new season

Read related topics:Sydney