Game Preview: Sharks vs Rams – Sunday April 14 @ 2pm

The last game of the first round will feature the defending champion SIT Zerofees Sharks and the previous season’s fifth placed side the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams. The Sharks enter yet another Sal’s NBL season as a competition heavyweight, but have lost key figures from last year’s team, including Orlando Coleman, Reuben Te Rangi and Derone Raukawa. However, those vacancies have been filled by Todd Blanchfield and Tai Wynard, so Head Coach Judd Flavell won’t be without firepower for round one. The Rams enter the opening round undefeated in the preseason, which no doubt gives new Head Coach Mick Downer plenty of promise. The Rams have lost key figures in Max Darling, Julian Washburn and Winston Shepard, so they will need someone to pick up the reins if they’re any hope of pushing for the top four. Downer is in charge of the second youngest team in this year’s NBL and will draw on signings Cameron Gliddon and Isaiah Wilkins to help him steer the ship, while Emmett Naar is a quality floor general. The Sharks are tough to beat at home, especially on an afternoon when they celebrate their 2018 title with their loud and proud fans, so it will take a mighty effort from the Rams to spoil the party.


*Live on at 2pm.
*Live on the TRIBE app at 2pm - download the app to your phone.



Starting 5
35. Alex Pledger (centre)
97. Jarrad Weeks (guard)
10. Mitch McCarron (guard)
24 . Todd Blanchfield (guard)
15. Tom Vodanovich (forward)

11. Dom Kelman-Poto (forward)
14. Tai Wynyard (centre)
22. Hyrum Harris (guard/forward)
25. Andrew Wheeler (guard)
34. Connor Coll (forward)
2. Tom Cowie (guard)
45. Tinashe Matambanadzo (guard)

Coach: Judd Flavell
Assistant: Leyton Haddleton
Manager: Troy Paulin
Physio: Hayden Sproat

From The Coach – Judd Flavell
Seeing the ingredients that we have put together in training this week, even though it’s early days and we haven’tplayed a game yet, I think we’re as good as we’ve ever been in my time here. For us in the Sharks programme we try and build around great people. That puts you in a great place when you try and bring a team together like we are. The calibre of the guys we’ve got, the younger guys have the enthusiasm and energy and the experience guys are great leaders, and you need that mixture. Canterbury will be a real challenge. They’ve recruited well, have some fresh faces and great results pre-season. It should be a great test first up.



Starting 5
4. Emmett Naar (guard)
8. Adam Gibson (guard)
1. Luke Aston (guard)
17. Isaiah Wilkins (forward)
44. Mike Karena (forward)

5. Taylor Britt (guard)
10. Sam Smith (guard)
30. Toby Gillooly (guard)
9. Jonathan Janssen (forward)
45. Brent Fisher (forward)
24. Alex Talma (forward) *Questionable
7. Nathan Campbell (forward) *Questionable

Coach: Mick Downer
Assistant: Terry Brunel
Assistant: Piet Van Hasselt
Manager: Raewyn Britt
Physio: Lidia Belles

From The Coach – Mick Downer
We’re really excited to commence this season against the defending champs on the their home court. Like the saying goes, to be the best you have to beat the best, so it will be a great opportunity to measure ourselves against one of the title favourites. We are really happy about our preparation and the time spent together in Christchurch on court, and in Blenheim for our pre-season games. We’ve established a strong connection in a short period of time. While we respect our opposition wholeheartedly, we are heavily focused on our own growth as a unit and establishing a style of game that our fans and partners will be proud of. We expect a tough, competitive game between two talented teams.


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