SEABL Men- The round 14 report

Share this article

Roy Ward talks to Nathan Crosswell of the Sandringham Sabres and covers this week’s big plays as well as the media wrap-up.

For all Nate Crosswell has achieved in almost 20 years of professional basketball, he still loves the challenge of game day.

The 35-year old guard continues to play in the SEABL with Sandringham adding over 150 games at this level to his 350 NBL games and quite a few Big V matches as well.

But despite all the years and all the games, Crosswell still loves testing himself against other guards around the league.

In the past few years he has also discovered the joy of playing while his kids, aged five and three, can enjoy it.

“I’m one of those people who will keep playing until I feel like I can’t compete anymore,” Crosswell said.

“I just love playing, competing and challenging myself against the other guards around the league.

“I have two young kids and one on the way and for them to see me play, they love it.

“It’s the best thing when they come down on court after the game and sit down and have a stretch with the team or come into the rooms and sing the song if we win.

“That’s what it’s all about.”

The veteran left-hander is still playing a big role for the Sabres and is third in the SEABL in assists with 5.2 per game.

Crosswell said he never wanted to stop playing once his NBL career ended so SEABL continues to be a perfect fit.

“I love the game so going cold turkey was not a great idea,” Crosswell said.

“To come back and to play here at Sandy was perfect.

“You look at someone like my old teammate Adam Ballinger. I was trying to convince him to keep playing in SEABL and I was so happy to see him eventually do that – you can’t just stop doing something you have done for 20 years.”

The Sabres have lost a few too many close games this season and will need a big push in the final weeks to have any chance at snatching a finals berth.

But Crosswell sees improvement and potential in the core of the current side plus some young talent coming through the club’s junior program.

“It’s a bit of so close, so far,” Crosswell said.

“We have played some good basketball but have dropped five or six games under three points and that comes back and bites you on the butt when you are trying to make finals.

“I’m telling the guys to just worry about the process and see what happens – we have learned from some situations this season, this group has learned a hell of a lot.

“If we can keep this core together, keep our Sandringham people together and build some continuity then we will only be better for it.”

Crosswell’s life is still dominated by basketball even though he is a few years out of the NBL.

He is now the Sabres’ schools and outreach coach which includes running clinics, after school programs, elite training sessions and coordinating the club’s schools program.

Crosswell says all the programs have grown in size this year with 100 kids a day coming through Sandringham’s recent school holidays program.

It’s a full-time job and one Crosswell relishes while he is also coaching the Sabres’ under-16 side in Friday night representative basketball in Melbourne.

Last year, his side finished in the top six of the highest grade, Victorian Championship, and this year’s side is on track to play finals in the Victorian Championship Reserve grade.

“Coaching under-16s is the most frustrating yet rewarding thing I have done,” Crosswell said.

“They all have minds of their own and, much like our Sabres coach Stephen Hoare must be experiencing, when you are coaching you can’t control anything so that takes some getting used to.”

The Crosswell’s are expecting their third child on August 15, the day before the Sabres play Dandenong and should the team win its next few games, Nate could be facing the need to be at two places at once.

“The last one came early so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one does too,” Crosswell said.

“If we win our next few then it will be very busy few days.”

Farewell Steve Smith

Long-time Border Mail basketball writer Steve Smith will end his long tenure at the newspaper this week and he announced the Bandits’ win over Kilsyth was the last home game he would cover for the paper.

Smith has worked as a sub-editor, graphic designer and web editor along with his basketball writing at the paper.

Smith has given the Bandits’ men and women outstanding coverage during his time with a constant stream of well written stories which show how important the club is to the region.

His work during the Bandits’ title in 2012 and the sudden passing of club great Allen McCowan was exceptional and still stands out today.

Hopefully someone in the region snaps him up to cover the side for the remainder of the season and beyond.

Notable performances

*Albury-Wodonga’s Cory Dixon had a mammoth game against Frankston with 33 points and 21 rebounds. He backed up against Kilsyth with 22 points and seven rebounds.

*Dixon’s fellow import Donte Nicholas was once again a force on the glass and in defence with 12 points, 13 rebounds, seven steals and three blocks against the Blues then 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks against Kilsyth.

*Frankston’s Eric Williams continues to score with 30 points and eight rebounds against the Bandits.

*Mt Gambier’s offence ran hot again with Brad Hill (25 points), Eric Burdon (22) and Tyrone Lee (21) all in good form against Sandringham while Damian Johnson threatened to get a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks.

*Brisbane’s Tim Coenraad has made an impact in the second half of the season and had 22 points and 13 rebounds against Geelong.

*Sandringham’s Alister MacDonald had a great weekend with 30 points against Frankston following a 19-point effort against Mt Gambier.

*Sabres teammate Trent Zomer also had a good night against Frankston with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

*Ballarat duo Gregory Thondique (24 points, nine rebounds) and Roy Booker (21 points, eight rebounds, five assists) led the way in the Miners’ win over Canberra.

*North-West Tasmania had multiple contributors on offence in their win over Bendigo with Fred Hunter (25 points), Garrett Jackson (23 points) and Mason Bragg (19 points) all on song while Nathan Wilson offered 15 points and 11 rebounds.

*Dandenong Rangers’ offence really clicked into top gear against Nunawading scoring 114 points with all five starters scoring 15 points or more led by Chuck Long’s 22 points and Andrew Harms 21 points.

SEABL media links

*The Advocate’s Cameron Whiteley (@CWhiteley12) reports NW Thunder coach Phil Thomas believes his side is a more dangerous prospect this season. Report:

*Whiteley also filed a match report on the Thunder’s win over Bendigo. Report, pictures:

*The Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_whelan) reports Ballarat Miners are starting to play the way they want to. Report:

*Bendigo Advertiser’s Nathan Dole reports on the Braves’ tough loss to the Thunder. Report:

*The Age reports on Boomers’ coach Andrej Lemanis’ thoughts after he left Patty Mills out of his squad to play New Zealand next month. Report:

*The Age also reported on the NBL’s plans to expand their digital coverage. Report:

*A look back at Steve Smith’s (@stevesmithffx) feature on the Bandits’ 25 year anniversary from 2011. Story:

*The Gems have made an excellent start to their FIBA under-19 world championships in Russia. Follow the Gems via live stats or the live streams on You Tube. Stats, video:

Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions during this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at