10/18/13

Get Ready....(Preview: 36ers v Hawks 19/10/13)

As a season-ticket holder, three Sixers season-openers are especially memorable.

1/ Jan 31, 1998
A new era began for Adelaide on this night with the return of Phil Smyth as coach and the addition of imports Darnell Mee and Kevin Brooks. Mee we'd seen, Brooks we hadn't. Two hours later we could say we'd witnessed some of the best basketball the club had ever played. The Sixers smashed the hapless Crocs 125-86, a 39 point hiding. Townsville didn't have the best team going around but still boasted well-established players such as Derek Rucker, Ray Owes and Simon Kerle. Brooks instantly became a fan-favourite with a 20 point (4 threes) and 7 rebound debut but it was his interaction with the crowd that more impressed an awestruck crowd. Mee was solid and gave the team the perfect counter to Brooks- a defense first, all business approach. Carryover Martin Cattalini exploded for 26 points and 9 boards and veteran Mark Davis showed he had plenty left with an 18/11 double-double.

2/ Oct 13, 2001
On this night we witnessed the debut of Willie Farley. Nicknamed "Baby Jordan", Farley was unlike any import Adelaide had seen to that point. He had range, a beautiful turnaround jumper (hence the nickname) and could throw down some nice dunks. Adelaide thrashed nemesis Perth 94-77 with Farley scoring 22, grabbing 9 boards (5 offensive) and 3 assists. Farley helped other 36ers rise to the occasion with Maher scoring 25, Rees scoring 12 to go with 15 boards and "Stiffy" adding 14 points to his 10 boards. This wasn't a weak Perth team either, with stalwarts Grace and Vlahov being supported by Paul Rogers, Matt Burston, James Harvey and Neil Mottram.

3/ Oct 8, 2011
This one brings up bad memories as a Sixers fan but good ones as a basketball fan. Adelaide took on Perth, suiting only one import (Chris Warren) and without captain Adam Ballinger. Adelaide stunk up the joint, coughing up 18 turnovers as it struggled to even get the ball into it's half-court, let alone score. Perth on the other hand had no problems finding the basket, regulalrly finding open shooters on it's way to shooting at 48% from the field and hitting an astounding 14 of 25 threes. The Cats smashed Adelaide 102-69 and set Adelaide on it's path to the bottom of the ladder.


Tomorrow, Adelaide faces the Hawks  and will be keen for a repeat of that unforgettable night on January 31, 1998. Just like that night, Adelaide faces a team not expected to appear in the playoffs. The Sixers also debut two new imports, one known to the league (Ervin) and one unknown (Jarrid Frye). A new coach also is on the sidelines, not a hometown hero like Smyth but a well-respected coach who will be seen as a total 180 on the previous coach.

Let's look at the the two teams coming into this one

ADELAIDE
The Sixers should be full-strength with Gibson and Frye both likely to play. The team comes off an "honourable loss" in Perth and eager to get their first win in front of it's home crowd. Adelaide will be expecting Twin Towers DJ and Schensch to cause plenty of headaches for the undersized Hawks, for Creek and Frye to get out and run and for it's backcourt to make the Hawks work hard at both ends of the floor.

WOLLONGONG
Rotnei Clarke impressed in his debut and it's likely he'll need to play better in this one if the Hawks are any chance. The club is hopeful all the paperwork will be settled so Kevin Tiggs can also suit up. Behind these guys are Tim Coenraad, Tyson Demos and Rhys Martin who can all impact the scoreboard in varying ways but will be harassed by Adelaide's strong defensive backcourt. Davidson and  Forman will try to stretch Adelaide's bigs while Dave Gruber will scrap and fight for whatever he can get.

For Wollongong to have any chance, it's imports will have to star and it's forwards will need to light it up from range.

If Adelaide is full strength this could (and should) get nasty. If the team can fire early the crowd will fire up and push the team to it's best. All things considered, I expect Adelaide to put in a performance that will rival the 1998 season opener.

Don't miss it Adelaide fans

Prediction: Adelaide by 25

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