Round 3 Game Previews, Coach Quotes And Team Selections

It's time for R3 in the Sal's NBL. Here's all the team selections, coach quotes and game previews.


Thursday April 25 – SAINTS vs SHARKS (7:35pm)

Broadcast Info: Live on SKY TV and Prime TV from 7:30pm

Game Preview
Is this the biggest rivalry in the Sal’s NBL? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better match-up than this one in the league right now, the two grand finalists from 2018 come together again on the same court where the Sharks clinched a 2pt thriller in last season’s decider. Both have started the season well, boasting two wins each from as many starts and currently occupy the top two rungs on the ladder. The shooting form of both Nick Kay and Shea Ili has been something to behold for the Saints and if they get on top the Sharks could be in trouble. The match-up between Ili and Weeks will be fun to watch. There is a real Australian flavour in this game with Nick Kay and Sunday Dech set to take on Jarrad Weeks, Todd Blanchfield and Mitch McCarron, but tit could be the home-grown talent of Shea Ili, Jordan Ngatai, Reuben Te Rangi, Alex Pledger and Tom Vodanovich who have a big say in the final result. Both teams are formidable and expect to right in the mix come the Final 4 in July, but make no mistake there is a lot riding on this game, particularly early-season bragging rights. Don’t be surprised if this one goes down to the last play or two.



Starting 5
55. Shea Ili (guard)
11. Jordan Ngatai (guard/forward)
7. Reuben Te Rangi (forward)
2. Nick Kay (forward)
14. Rob Loe (centre)

15. Leon Henry (forward)
3. Sunday Dech (guard)
13. Anzac Rissetto (centre)
9. Theo Johnson (forward)
21. James Cawthorn (guard)
Jacob Walsh (guard)

Coach: Paul Henare
Assistant: Kenny McFadden
Manager: Phil Hartley
Physio: James Belesky

From The Coach – Paul Henare
The Saints and the Sharks have had a lot of great contests over the years and this season will be no different. We have a lot of respect for them and we know we will be in for a battle. We are continuing to build our on court chemistry which has been exciting to watch in such a short time. Well need everyone to contribute for us to get over the line in this one.



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)
45. Tinashe Matambanadzo (guard)

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

From The Coach – Judd Flavell
Over the past 10 years the Sharks / Saints rivalry has been one of the biggest in the league and I am sure this game will be no exception.  Obviously we have up close and personal experience with many of the Saints 2019 roster and are well aware of the strengths they have at their disposal. The match ups in this game have the potential to be outstanding and for us this is a great challenge as a measuring stick to see where we are at this early stage of the season.



Friday April 26 – GIANTS vs JETS (7pm)

Broadcast Info: live on SKY TV Channel 59,, Tribe Sports App, (Australia only) from 6:48pm (NZ time) 

Game Preview
The Giants sit at 1-1 and are yet to hit the road, so they will be very keen to get another win on their home deck when the Jets pay them a visit. Last week’s performance by the Giants against the Sharks was very good, particularly the blistering start, but when baskets were needed down the stretch they just wouldn’t drop. Jordair Jett has settled in nicely and looks set for a big season, while Rhys Vague is the complete package and relishing his opportunity to be a key focus at the offensive end. Dan Grida continues to be explosive and is set to go to another level anytime now. For the Jets, two home losses has seen them be competitive, yet unable to get the result they were after. Taane Samuel is a player on the rise and will be a key to any chance of winning here, while Kuran Iverson found his groove last week against the Huskies and needs to continue that good form. In a major change to the line-up, the Jets have brought in proven scorer Daishon Knight to replace Anthony Odunsi. Knight is expected to be available for this game if his clearance comes through in time.



Starting 5
2. Jordair Jett (guard)
11. Daniel Grida (guard)
24. Tyrell Harrison (centre)
25. Rhys Vague (forward)
10. Samuel Dempster (forward)

6. Ali Granger (guard)
7. Riley Bensemann (guard)
9. Tom Ingham (guard)
22. Tyler Marsh (guard)
26. Bronson Beri (forward)
42. Tysxun Aiolupotea (guard)
43. Nic Trathen (forward)

Coach: Mike Fitchett
Assistant: Phil Jones
Manager: Andrew Stevens
Physio: Ashlee Lusty

From The Coach – Mike Fitchett
We are looking forward to getting back onto our home floor and back on track after the tough loss to Southland. Manawatu were very impressive in their loss to the Southern Huskies, so we will need to bring our best game this week. 



Starting 5
10. Jackson Stubbins (guard)
41. Daishon Knight (guard)
32. Wally Ellenson (guard/forward)
31. Kuran Iverson (forward)
50. Shane Temara (forward/centre)

5. Taane Samuel (forward)
15. Troy Temara (forward/centre)
4. Haize Walker (guard)
12. Rangimarie Mita (guard)
11. Jake McKinlay (guard/forward)

Coach: Tim McTamney
Assistant: Terry Tanoa
Manager: Jason Pearn

From The Coach – Tim McTamney
Failed to provide a comment.



Saturday April 27 – RAMS vs SAINTS (7pm)

Broadcast Info: live on SKY TV Channel 59,, Tribe Sports App, (Australia only) from 6:48pm (NZ time)

Game Preview
All the fanfare of a Sharks and Saints match-up may unfairly take some of the spotlight of this clash, which promises to be every bit as good. The Rams showed no mercy on the road last week, easily taking care of business against the Rangers and Airs. The balance of Mick Downer’s team looks very good, as is their ability to constantly find the open shot. The Saints last week against the Huskies showed a supreme defensive edge, and they will need to bring that to Horncastle Arena because the Rams simply do not stop running and creating – rarely do they stagnate. The battle between Emmett Naar and Shea Ili will be exciting, while Isaiah Wilkins will probably get the job on Nick Kay and will need to bring every bit of his defensive powers to close the big Saint down. All the talk around the league continues to be how deep and stacked the Saints are, so a weekend featuring games against the Sharks and Rams will provide us with plenty of scope as to just how good this Saints line-up is. As a sidenote, everything we’ve seen in the opening two rounds suggests both the Rams and Saints could be headed to the Final 4 this season and with this game at Horncastle Arena they will both get an early look and feel for this year’s finals venue.



Starting 5
4. Emmett Naar (guard)
3. Cam Gliddon (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)
25. Tony Tolovae (guard)

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

From The Coach – Mick Downer
We are looking to what will be an exciting and hard fought game at Horncastle Arena. Coming off strong performances in R2 on the road we can’t wait to play the Saints to open our home court campaign. The court will be filled with talented players from both teams who will also feature deep rosters. Our opposition presents challenges at both ends of the floor as they are led by Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare, whose teams are known for their grinding defence and aggressive play.  We look forward to the arm wrestle over 40 minutes and testing ourselves against the preseason favourites.



Starting 5
55. Shae Ili (guard)
11. Jordan Ngatai (guard/forward)
7. Reuben Te Rangi (forward)
2. Nick Kay (forward)
14. Rob Loe (centre)

15. Leon Henry (forward)
3. Sunday Dech (guard)
13. Anzac Rissetto (centre)
9. Theo Johnson (forward)
21. James Cawthorn (guard)
33. Jacob Walsh (guard)

Coach: Paul Henare
Assistant: Kenny McFadden
Assistant: Troy McLean
Manager: Phil Hartley
Physio: Jamie Beleski

From The Coach – Paul Henare
The Rams have had a really nice start to the season and will be looking forward to playing on their home floor for the first time this year. Last year we were a part of a fantastic event at Horncastle Arena and were excited to be a part of another great event there this weekend. Mick has done a great job putting together a really good team and their depth has really shone through. We will be backing up after a tough game vs Southland so I’m looking forward to seeing how our group responds to a little bit of adversity early on.



Saturday April 27 – HUSKIES vs RANGERS (7pm NZ / 9pm AUS)

Broadcast Info: live on, Tribe Sports App, (Australia only) from 6:48pm (NZ time)

Game Preview
The Southern Huskies returned home with one win from three games after what was possibly the hardest road-trip in Kiwi sports history. The Huskies played courageously in all three games over a four-day stretch and came close to leaving New Zealand with the numbers reversed in the wins and loss columns. The Tasmanians have three more trips across the ditch before the business end of the season, but for the next five weeks the Huskies will be at home where they will be a different beast. Add in in the addition of Marcel Jones and Bryan Michaels and they may well be on the right path to a top four finish. The 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers started the Sal’s NBL with a hiss and roar, but their results as of late resemble more of a mumble. Both of their losses have been by 12 or more points and this is largely a reflection of their efforts at the defensive end. The Rangers have shown they’re an above average offensive side, but lack enthusiasm on the other end of the court. The easiest way to get better on defence is to boost effort levels and the Rangers are a young team so this issue could be resolved quickly. All away games can be considered unfamiliar territory but this idiom takes on a whole different meaning for New Zealand teams in the Sal’s NBL when this game tips-off Saturday night.



Starting 5
3. Tre Nichols (guard)
6. Mason Bragg (guard)
9. Craig Moller (forward)
22. Jalen Billups (forward)
14. Jordan Vandenburg (centre)

8. Bryan Michaels (guard)
21. BJ Radcliffe (forward)
12. Tiri Masunda (guard)
24. Brad Simpson (forward)
23. Lochlan Cummings (guard)

Coach: Anthony Stewart
Assistant: Corey Davie
Assistant: Dwain Davie
Assistant: Brett Smith

From The Coach – Anthony Stewart
We are all really excited for this clash at the DEC.   Both teams will be desperate for the win with the same record. It’s our first home game ever so we are expecting a big crowd. Great to see the high quality of the league and this week again we see the quality of NBA player Tim Quarterman and two other Australian NBL players. It was a tough initiation last week, but wow, what a league. We are only going to get better as a club on and off the court and we are all excited that Bryan Michaels will play his first game, while Marcel Jones will be here the following week to strengthen us even more.



Starting 5
1. Tim Quarterman (guard)
4. Daniel Green (guard)
5. Randall Bishop (guard)
55. Venky Jois (forward)
32. Nnanna Egwu (forward)

9. Lesae Coe (guard)
15. Nicholas Barrow (forward)
21. Samuel Aruwa (forward)
2. Hyrum Hippolite (guard)

Coach: Jeff Green
Assistant: Anthony Keung
Manager: Tania Sampson

From The Coach – Jeff Green
It’s significant that I was involved with the very first game played in Australia for a club team The New Zealand Breakers in 2003 and now in 2019 for a New Zealand franchise in the NZNBL. That history hasn’t been lost on me and hopefully this works out better this time around for us than it did with the Breakers in 2003. The game is going to be tough. The Huskies had a tough road trip going 1-2 in NZ last weekend. It’s not going to be an easy game for us, it will be their first home game, significant for them as well. So history is going to be made all round, One of the teams will be 2-2 at the end of the night.



Sunday April 28 – AIRS vs HAWKS (3pm)

Broadcast Info: live on SKY TV Channel 59,, Tribe Sports App, (Australia only) from 2:48pm (NZ time)

Game Preview
The Taranaki Steelformers Mountainairs will play their second successive game at TSB Stadium this Sunday, giving them another opportunity to score their first win, while also protecting the peak. The Airs lost by a whopping 33 points to the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams on Easter Monday and will need to rectify their high turnovers to have any chance of toppling the Taylor Hawks. Among the few bright spots for the team are new recruits Kevin Foster and Derone Raukawa, both of whom have scored 15+ points in their first two games. However, assistance from their teammates is essential if they’re wanting to turn their season around, sooner rather than later. The Hawks finished the second round in total contrast to the Airs, notching their second W on the trot. They’ve shot an impressive 45% from the arc in their first three outings and will likely employ a perimeter shooting game plan considering the success the Rams had with similar tactics on Monday. Ethan Rusbatch leads the Sal’s NBL in MVP votes after two rounds and may be in for another big performance if the Airs don’t step up their game.



Starting 5
14. Alonzo Burton (guard)
8. Derone Raukawa (guard)
3. Daniel Gomis (centre)
21. Chris Early (forward)
1. Kevin Foster (forward)

5. Xavier Shaw (forward)
7. Houston O’Riley (guard)
22. Aaron Bailey-Nowell (forward)
2. Oscar Roberston (guard)
10. Dane Brooks (guard)
6. Latrell Teka-Wall (guard)
20. Thane O’Leary (forward)

Coach: David Bublitz
Assistant: Andrew Green
Assistant: Shay Haira
Manager: Bevan Seddon
Physio: Mick McBeth

From The Coach – David Bublitz
Game two was again disappointing, particularly the 1st quarter. With The Rams shooting an incredible 74% in the first half we were always behind where we wanted to be and some soft turnovers and a lack of execution meant we were always chasing the game. Once again reducing turnovers, controlling tempo and doing a better job in effort areas are things we need to be better at for Round 3 against the Hawks.



Starting 5
6. Jarrod Kenny (guard)
13. Dion Prewster (guard)
12. Ethan Rusbatch (guard)
25. EJ Singler (forward)
21. Shaquille Thomas (forward)

3. Nick Fee (guard)
5. Everard Bartlett (guard)
21. Clifton Bush III (forward)
7. Darryl Jones (forward)
27. Jamal Mikaio (forward)
9. James Levings (guard) *Questionable
10. Mitchell Dance (forward) *Questionable

Coach: Zico Coronel
Assistant: Morgan Maskell
Assistant: Rob Hartley
Manager: Jordan Wise
Physio: Colin Tutchen

From The Coach – Zico Coronel
For the Taylor Hawks this road trip to New Plymouth provides another opportunity to grow as a team on and off the court. We’ve made progress developing our offensive fundamentals and have further turned our attention to the defensive end. Taranaki is always an ornery proposition under the umbrella of the mountain. 



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