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NBL23 Rd7: Shawn well hung but is Perth up?

THE decision by the Perth Wildcats to retire the #42 uniform of multiple NBL championship winner Shawn Redhage and hang it in the rafters at The Jungle is a great one. Now all the Wildcats have to do is show they can keep winning when they host the Phoenix.

That truly would honour the legendary Wildcat while also keeping Perth's season on track after a five-game lapse finally was interrupted by a road win at Adelaide.

Melbourne United centre Isaac Humphries' decision to reveal his sexuality this week was a brave call for the big man but how the emotion of it and its upshot will impact could be significant in this round.

It was a highly-emotional process which will either see the team hit a fatigue-wall early, or come out with all guns blazing.







BOTH Melbourne and Adelaide sacked imports during the FIBA World Cup qualifying window, though United already knew it could win without Jordan Caroline and the 36ers scored a W while Craig Randall was out. Truth is there's not much between these sides right now, the danger for United that it could look past the Sixers toward the derby against SEM. And it has been an emotional week.

FIVE straight losses rocked Perth to its foundations but when it all clicked in Adelaide, the Wildcats looked as previously advertised - tough and deep. The Phoenix have won in Perth so the place holds no particular fears for SEM. Mitch Creek also will be out to make a point after being overlooked for the Boomers team. If everyone is healthy, look for South East to successfully go west. But otherwise it's...

MAYBE the round's most intriguing game pits New Zealand again against Tasmania after the Breakers positively pantsed the JackJumpers last time for their worst defeat. Now back in their Launceston outpost, expect the Ants to swarm with a refreshed game-plan and NZ to reveal why it is a title contender. Can't wait for this with so much cred on the line.

SOUTH East Melbourne expects to be at full strength for its Throwdown with Melbourne and has a bit to amend after its effete loss by 25 points last time. United could be settling in new import Marcus Lee, which always creates adjustments. For the Phoenix, welcoming back Ryan Broekhoff and Kyle Adnam should be far easier. Ladder positions mean nothing in these derby games.

THE intrastate Queensland rivalry takes on a new wrinkle in Brisbane where Cairns has no qualms about beating its "big brother". The Bullets have pulled together three wins since starting 0-5 but they were only over Illawarra (twice) and Tasmania when the JJs were coming down from a win in Perth. The Taipans form overall still warrants favouritism in what should be a dandy derby.

AT home, New Zealand will take some beating by an Adelaide team yet to live up to its Loggins-Bruton Trophy-winning form or that of an NBL club beating an NBA franchise. Upsetting the Breakers would be season-altering though for the 36ers. With Tom Abercrombie finding his feet at home against Sydney, he will be better for the run and it is difficult to conceive Adelaide will have the answers.

ILLAWARRA is the sad story of the season but with Sydney missing Xavier Cooks and Sam Froling playing exceptionally for Australia, the Hawkman could be the key to any sort of upset here. If any game could get the best out of Illawarra, the derby would be it. This will be a minor challenge of the Kings' depth but they held on well over the Breakers in NZ and there's little to infer they can't do the same here.

HAVE THEY? Guess Adelaide's 90-80 win in Adelaide on Oct.15 didn't count.

Nov 17

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