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Issue 12



THU 15 FEB TIP-OFF 6.30PM Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Image supplied by Jono Searle


GAME PREVIEW THE Brisbane Bullets aim to send off the home fans on a winning note against the Sydney Kings to open the season’s final round with the added positive being it would likely mean they avoid the wooden spoon. Round 19 of the NBL season begins at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre as the Bullets host the Kings in their final home match of 2017/18. It is the last round of the season and it provides a chance for the Bullets to say farewell to their home fans in a positive fashion. So far, the Bullets have won six of 13 games on their three different home floors for the season so they will be looking to make that 7-7 come Thursday night. It is a contest that very well could end up deciding which team finishes in last position for the 2017/18 season as well. Brisbane and Sydney both come into the game on Thursday night with a 9-17 record with the Bullets ahead only marginally by percentage. While both teams also have another game later in Round 19 to close out the season against a finals bound opponent, all likelihood is that the winner of Thursday night’s match will avoid the wooden spoon and the loser will be stuck in last place. For the Bullets, that would mean consecutive wooden spoons upon return to the NBL. For the Kings, it would be a second bottom place finish in three seasons having only narrowly finished one spot above Brisbane in 2016/17.

The two teams are certainly familiar with one another considering they only played last Saturday night in Sydney. With the Bullets missing Tom Jervis, Tom Fullarton, Matt Kenyon and Perrin Buford, Sydney prevailed 92-80. They first met this season back on December 9 in Sydney when Brisbane prevailed 85-77with Travis Trice delivering 19 points and six assists. Daniel Kickert added 11 points, four rebounds and three assists and Reuben TeRangi 11 points and four boards in that triumph. The second meeting in Brisbane on December 23 was then a game to forget for the Bullets. On a three-game winning run, Brisbane shot out of the blocks and looked to have the game won most of it. But the Kings overran them in the finish to win 101-95. The Kings are now also in their best run of form for the season entering Thursday night’s clash. With the back court of Jerome Randle, Kevin Lisch and Jason Cadee now up and firing, along with forwards Brad Newley and Todd Blanchfield along with promising young big man Isaac Humphries, it is a Kings team that probably should have done a lot better this season. But the Bullets don’t deserve a second straight wooden spoon either considering 13 of their 17 losses this season have been by 10 points or fewer. Thursday night’s game will be the 150th in the NBL for Tom Jervis should the Bullets centre overcome a back injury to suit up. He started his career with the Perth Wildcats as the oldest winner of the Rookie of the Year award and going on to win two

VS championships before joining the Bullets at the start of last season. The game will also be the last home appearance for the retiring Anthony Petrie. One of the great NBL warriors now over the course of 266 games, ‘Peach’ has announced that this will be his last season in the league and he will say farewell to Brisbane on Thursday night before returning to Adelaide for a fitting appearance in his game in a city he played at for four seasons. There are plenty of reasons for the Bullets to come out fired up and inspired to perform well against the Kings on Thursday night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. But coach Andrej Lemanis is fully aware they need to be at their very best to overcome a stacked Kings outfit who has now won four of the last five games. “It came down to the end where they made plays and we didn’t. That’s the way the game goes sometimes,” Lemanis said. “I mean they are obviously a very talented basketball team and their position doesn’t reflect the talent they have. They had five guys on the Australian squad plus two quality imports, that’s a very, very talented basketball team. “Kevin (Lisch) being out has obviously hurt them but now that he’s back in and he is subbing in off the bench, that’s a pretty good player to have coming off the bench. You have to play well to beat them.”



Anthony Petrie Forward Tenterfield, NSW

Matt Kenyon Guard Gosford, NSW

Daniel Kickert Forward Melbourne, VIC

Travis Trice Guard Springfield, Ohio

Shaun Bruce Guard Horsham, VIC

Reuben Te Rangi Forward Auckland, NZ

Adam Gibson Guard Launceston, TAS

Stephen Holt Guard Portland, Oregon

Andrej Lemanis Coach Melbourne, VIC

Mitch Young Forward Brisbane, QLD

Tom Jervis Centre Kalgoorlie, WA



Isaac Humphries Centre Sydney, NSW

Amritpal Singh Centre Ganna Pind, Punjab, India

Dane Pineau Forward Melbourne, VIC

Jason Cadee Guard Sydney, NSW

Todd Blanchfield Forward Mackay, QLD

Perry Ellis Forward Wichita, Kansas

Travis Leslie Guard Atlanta, Georgia

Kevin Lisch Guard Belleville, Illinois

Adam Thoseby Centre Melbourne, VIC

Brad Newley Forward Adelaide, SA

Tom Garlepp Forward Calgary, Canada

Andrew Gaze Coach 28 games





In last round’s 92-80 loss to the Sydney Kings, the starting five from the Brisbane Bullets outscored the starters from their opponents 65-64 but unfortunately it was the bench that produced for the home side. Sydney’s bench made a significant impact on the game, tallying for 28 points while Brisbane’s recorded just 15, to be one of the biggest differences in the game. Since Stephen Holt moved to the bench earlier in the season, bench production has been an advantage for the Bullets but since the departure of Perrin Buford, Brisbane’s reserves will need to make an impact on Thursday against the Kings.

When the ball is moving, the Brisbane Bullets can beat anyone in the NBL, but that ball movement wasn’t there against the Kings last Saturday. In a dominant win over the Illawarra Hawks two days earlier, the Bullets recorded 23 assists on 35 made field goals but dished out just 11 dimes against Sydney in a 12-point loss. Brisbane average 17 assists per game and feature the league’s top assists man in Travis Trice, who averages 5.3 per game and if their ball movement can return to its scintillating best, there’s no doubt the Bullets will cause Sydney’s defence a whole heap of problems.

After wins over the Adelaide 36ers and Illawarra Hawks in the past fortnight, the Brisbane Bullets have won their past two games at home, but they are yet to win three consecutive games on their home floor since their return to the NBL. Andrej Lemanis’ team can achieve this feat in their last home game for the 2017/18 season, which would help them avoid the wooden spoon. The last time these teams met at Boondall was game one of the 2007 semi-finals which Brisbane won 91 – 84. That series ended any chance of Sydney playing in the grand final for the fifth straight season while the Bullets went on to win their first title in 20 years.


ANDREJ LEMANIS LUCK is still something that isn’t going the way of the Brisbane Bullets entering the final round of the 2017/18 NBL season but nobody at the club has dropped their head and Coach Andrej Lemanis is confident of a strong finish to a campaign that hasn’t quite gone to plan. The Bullets made a terrific start to Round 18 last Thursday night beating the Illawarra Hawks 9991 at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre before hitting the road two days later and losing to the Sydney Kings by 12 points. Perrin Buford obviously wasn’t there for either of those games having departed the club early last week while Tom Jervis’ 150th game milestone was delayed due to a back complaint. Matt Kenyon and Tom Fullarton were also sidelined for that double last week. That continued what has been happening for the Bullets all season with the only game all 11 contracted players were available for coming against the Adelaide 36ers on January 27. But since then, Travis Trice, Fullarton, Buford, Kenyon and Jervis have all missed at least one game meaning that this season will always be one where the Bullets just never found out what might have been if the full squad was available for an extended period. Despite all that, Lemanis has been proud that for much of the season the Bullets have stuck together and played as a competitive and committed unit. He had been especially happy with winning two of three games leading into last Saturday’s clash in Sydney.

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He was disappointed in the first half performance against the Kings and while happier with the response after half-time, it wasn’t enough to turn the result around. But overall Lemanis is happy with the fight shown by this Bullets group and he expects it to continue in the last two games in the final round firstly against the Kings at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Thursday and then on the road to Adelaide on Saturday night. “It’s been one of those years for us. We’ve had our full contracted 11 for one game when they’ve all been healthy. It’s been difficult to find the rhythm in all of that but it is what it is and the guys have kept fighting,” Lemanis said. “I thought the last couple of weeks in particular our spirit and intent has been good, which is why our first half against Sydney was disappointing but we did pick it up in the second half. I expect us now to finish out the season in the right way this week.” While Lemanis knows that dealing with whatever personnel are available for any game this season has just become commonplace, he knows some things are still within their control especially with the way they start games. That’s why he will be urging his team to come out of the blocks better in the last home game of the season this Thursday against Sydney and he hopes that Jervis and Fullarton will be right to return to add a couple of extra bodies for the occasion as well.

“We have to come out with a little better intent but it would be nice if we got more people healthy as well. Tommy’s back jammed up last Tuesday at practice and it was slowly getting better, but it just wasn’t worth the risk to play him,” Lemanis said. “Given we have two games now this week, for him to play and get a bump on it and get a setback where he couldn’t practice at all this week and miss the two games just didn’t make any sense. “We’re hoping he’ll be right and hopefully Tom Fullarton will get over his injury as well and get a chance to play some minutes because he has played some quality minutes when he’s come in. It was good for Will Magnay to get another opportunity and he’ll get more chances this week.”


SHAUN BRUCE BRISBANE Bullets guard Shaun Bruce has had his fair share of ups and downs this NBL campaign after an ankle injury suffered in the pre-season hindered his progress following a dominant QBL season for the Mackay Meteors where the Horsham product won the league MVP award. Despite returning to the court just weeks into the season, Bruce has only started to feel like himself over the past month and he has taken inspiration from one member of the Bullets coaching staff to get back to 100 percent. The 27-year-old said the help of one of Australian basketball’s greats in six-time NBL champion and Brisbane assistant CJ Bruton has helped him significantly this season. “CJ has been awesome and the way he sees the game is like nothing else,” Bruce said. “This season I’ve just tried to keep developing my game in all aspects. It’s been great to work with CJ on an individual level and learn from his playing experience. “It’s (this season) definitely been frustrating, dealing with the ankle injury early on. I know it’s something every player in the league has dealt with but with it being my first real injury it took some time

to get use to and adjusting to. “But I feel over the last maybe three weeks it’s started to feel more like it used to and I definitely feel better about it.” But Bruton hasn’t been Bruce’s only support system this season and during his career with the former Cairns Taipan lucky enough to be part of a family with a history in basketball, including his older brother, Aaron, who played in the NBL. “My family is always there and having my two older brothers play they are always watching and don’t hesitate to reach out when they see something,” he said. “I’ve been lucky to work closely over the last few years with a sports psych named Jodii Maguire, who is awesome and definitely helps throughout a long season.” The Bullets have started to show more cohesion on both ends of the floor in recent weeks and Bruce’s role has increased during that time, playing major minutes off the bench as Brisbane look to finish the season on a positive note. “It’s been good to be able to contribute in different areas. We have a lot of great guards so I’ve looked to bring some energy on both ends, pick up the ball carriers on defence and on the offensive end bring pace to the game and keep the ball moving,” Bruce said. “A big focus of ours has been to keep the ball moving. It’s shown when we do that we can be tough to play against and making the opposition teams guard us from side to side.

“My focus individually is to keep bringing energy and just keep building on what we want to be as a team. As a team we would love to finish on a high note, go out with two wins for our teammate Peach (Anthony Petrie) who is retiring.” Brisbane haven’t reached their goal as a team this season but Bruce still admits he thinks they are on the right track and that Andrej Lemanis is leading the in the right direction. “Drej is about the process and getting better each day and I think as long as we stick to that moving forward and get buy in from everybody the future is bright here in Brisbane,” he said “I love to go fishing. Whenever I have time I get out on the water and enjoy the sun and thrill of chasing the next big one,” he said. But don’t think he and the Bullets have taken their minds off finishing the season off with some wins as Young said they want to give the fans something to cheer about to end their campaign. “I think we owe it to ourselves as players, to the club and to the people of Brisbane to finish this season off strong. We have all worked too hard and given to much to not be able to be proud of the second season back for the Brisbane Bullets,” he said. You can catch Young and the Bullets in action on Thursday night against the Illawarra Hawks at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 6.30pm (AEST).

“I just want to say thank you to all my teammates that I have played with over this journey. The relationships I have made are something that I will cherish forever, probably nearly more than the on court memories. To all the fans I hope you have appreciated the way I have gone about my business on the floor for your clubs when I have played for you�


Image supplied by Jono Searle

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Game Day E-Mag Issue #12 | Bullets v Kings  

For all your on and off court GAME DAY information featuring: match previews, player profiles, coaches corner, partner offers and much more!

Game Day E-Mag Issue #12 | Bullets v Kings  

For all your on and off court GAME DAY information featuring: match previews, player profiles, coaches corner, partner offers and much more!