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Wong to make right call


MARCUS Wong isn’t getting ahead of himself but MAC Adelaide Lightning’s interim WNBL coach was happy with what he saw at the weekend from Chris Lucas’ revamped team.

Cut down by a shock revelation he had a cancerous growth in his kidney, Lucas was forced to step aside, handing the reins to his long-time lieutenant.

Wong was at Lucas’ side in 2006-07 and back there a decade later when Adelaide’s all-conquering top women’s coach returned after steering Townsville Fire into four straight Grand Final Series and consecutive WNBL championships.

Truly, Wong has been there through the good times and the bad, but little prepared him for Lucas’ recent revelation.

“It was pretty devastating and pretty shocking, to be honest,” Wong said, Lucas learning of his own condition just days after coaching Australia’s Emerging Opals to the Gold Medal at the World University Games.

“My first thoughts were for Chris and for his family,” Wong said.

“He is a good mate of mine so when he asked me to take the reins and do the job, I knew it would be challenging at times but I’d enjoy it.”

On the road last weekend, the Lightning beat Melbourne and Bendigo in preseason games. But all three teams had key players missing which is why Wong isn’t drawing too much from the results.

“The results don’t matter that much but what was good to see was we played some exciting stuff and defended really well as a team,” he said.

“That was pretty good to see as we’ve only been working together for two weeks.”

During Lucas’ absence, Wong is being assisted by former Logan Thunder WNBL coach Jason Chainey, bringing further credibility to Lightning’s off-court staff.

Wong, 38, has been a Premier League head coach for more than a decade, an assistant coach in Forestville’s breakthrough 2001 SA Championship before guiding Sturt Sabres to championships of his own in 2006 and 2008.

With Aimie Clydesdale recovering from a knee injury, Adelaide tried Nicole Seekamp at the point against the Boomers and Spirit, her understanding with WNBL championship-winner Natalie Novosel already evident.

Adelaide opens its regular season on Friday, October 6 at Titanium Security Arena against defending champion Sydney Uni Flames.

On Sunday, October 8, it is away to the rejuvenated Uni of Canberra Capitals.

In Round Two, it hosts Perth Lynx. There just isn't an easy game on the schedule - for anyone.

Lucas is expected to recuperate from his recent surgery for six-to-eight weeks.

“It’s important we get off to a good start so we can be in a good position when Chris comes back, Wong said.

Sep 18

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