Preview: Tigers v 36ers (7/10/12)

One of the fiercest rivalries in the NBL continues tomorrow when the Melbourne Tigers visit Adelaide Arena to take on the Adelaide 36ers. It's the season opener for both clubs and each team has a very different look to it than last year. Adelaide fared well against Melbourne last year, winning the season series thanks largely to the play of import Chris Warren. He's no longer around though.

Melbourne has made the following changes.............

Imports: Kevin Braswell, Seth Scott
Locals: Adam Ballinger, Chris Goulding, Nate Tomlinson

Imports: Ron Dorsey, Myron Allen
Locals: Cam Tragardh, Daniel Dillon

On paper, Melbourne looks stronger. Dorsey lost a lot of confidence as the season wore on and Myron Allen was inconsistent to say the least. At times he was brilliant, at times his emotions and energy got the better of him. Braswell is a safer bet at guard and Seth Scott has shown glimpses that he could be a beast. Ballinger and Goulding are both playing for their lives and there are big wraps on Tomlinson. Tragardh's scoring will be a loss but they can more than cover for him with their additions.

Unfortunately, word is that Ballinger won't play tomorrow, which is a shame for 36ers fans and a dent in Melbourne's chances. A lot will rest on Melbourne's other bigs to stop Adelaide's twin towers while keeping the score ticking over.

Adelaide tinkered with it's roster by making these changes.......

Import: CJ Massingale
Locals: Adam Gibson, Luke Schenscher, Anthony Petrie, Jason Cadee, Pero Vasiljevic

Imports: Diamon Simpson, Chris Warren
Locals: Adam Ballinger, Darren Ng, Nathan Herbert, Everard Bartlett

It's not every day you add an Olympian and former NBA player to your roster, so much credit must go to the 36ers head office for these moves. Cadee comes in as the starting point, Petrie as the key big off the bench and Pero as the "in case of emergency" guy (although I do think he may surprise). The local additions are the best Adelaide has made in recent memory so, again, much credit must go to the 36ers management (or Gold Coast's management, depending on your outlook). In any case Adelaide did well to pounce on these guys (it's just a shame we couldn't land Goulding too).

Adelaide has rolled the dice by only playing one import, placing a lot of it's hope in Big Luke and moving potential MVP Daniel Johnson to the "4", but the local free agents were just too good to pass up. I would have probably gone for a big, solid import at the power forward instead of Schensch but besides that I like the team balance. If Luke plays the majority of the season though and the Twin Towers works I'll be made to eat plenty of humble pie. I do hope it works out as I'd rather be celebrating a title than saying "I told you so".From all accounts Schenscher is a top bloke and it would be great if he can deliver a title to his hometown.My only other concerns are the lack of an outside shooter off the bench and what happens if DJ or Schenscher miss any large stretches of games.

As far as this game goes, I just think Adelaide will have too many weapons and the boys will be keen to start the year strong. Who could forget last season's opener, a 30-point loss to Perth which was a sign of things to come. Ballinger's loss hurts Melbourne in a big way. It will be closer than many think as Melbourne has enough bodies to worry the Twin Towers (Rush, Burston, Scott, Greer) and shooters to stretch the Adelaide defense. It just won't be enough tomorrow.

My Tip: Adelaide by 8.

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