SEABL men- The round 5 report

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Roy Ward on the Nunawading Spectres, plus this week’s big plays and the media wrap-up.

THE live stats didn’t show it but Nunawading Spectres coach Dave Biwer was concerned about how his side started their clash against the Spartans in Brisbane on Saturday night.

While the margin remained close, Biwer saw his side as struggling to match the physicality and up-tempo play of the Spartans under former Australian and NBL star CJ Bruton.

The two sides were locked at 20-20 at the first break but the experienced heads of the Spectres soon started to adjust to the unusual flow of the game with point guard Shane McDonald and veteran centre Simon Conn finding range.

“They got an early jump on us – it just seems like a different type of game in Brisbane compared to everywhere else in this league,” Biwer said.

“They definitely play a faster pace, there was more turnovers and then you have a level of physicality there that is not the norm.

“There is a little more pushing and shoving allowed and if you don’t adjust they can run over the top of you.”

While Matt O’Hea only played 15 minutes due to a hamstring twinge and Alex Vanrenen was out due to family commitments, McDonald and Conn took charge.

“They just didn’t pick Simon up early and he got some easy shots and he missed a few of them,” Biwer said.

“Those of us who play and train with him every day know he just doesn’t miss from 15 to 17 feet – you just assume it’s going to go in.

“He missed a few early so maybe they took that extra step off him but once he got going there was no turning back and he shot the lights out.”

Conn would end the night with 30 points and 10 rebounds on 14 of 20 shooting.

Just as you would expect from two talented and in-form teams – the match went deep in the final quarter as Josh Tueta (22 points) and Scott Kenny (21 points in 22 minutes) were also making shots.

But as he has done over many years, Spectres point guard McDonald stepped up making two crucial three-pointers at the end to make sure the Spectres took a 102-98 win.

McDonald missed the early rounds after being struck down by cellulitis but in recent weeks his form has returned.

“Shane has been running my team for four to five years now and while it’s not like we can’t win without him – he is just such a general out there and organisers the whole group,” Biwer said.

“The previous weekend his shooting touch just wasn’t there but he still had 13 assists.

“His shooting isn’t back perfect just yet but he hit two monster three-pointers that gave us the win – he stepped up when it was crunch time.”

The Spectres have a less experienced bench this season but Biwer said they were fitting together ideally.

“They are less experienced than we have had in the past but I feel like they know their roles better,” Biwer said.

“In our championship year we had a nice mix of old and new on our bench but we haven’t had that for a couple of years.

“I feel like we can do 10 deep and I can look down the bench and see exactly the guy I need – the guys we have coming in are not trying to be something they are not.”

“It’s a great fit so far.”

Notable performances

*Ballarat import Roy Booker caught fire in his club’s clash against Canberra Gunners on Saturday night scoring 35 points in 32 minutes including nine of 12 three-point shooting as the Miners won 91-83.

*Frankston star Brandon Polk teed off against the BA Centre of Excellence on Saturday night scoring 35 points along with seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks although the COE had the last laugh winning 94-92 in overtime with shooter Dejan Vasiljevic scoring 24 points.

*Polk added 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Blues 91-78 loss to Geelong on Sunday.

*Nunawading’s Simon Conn scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Spectres 102-98 win over Brisbane Spartans.

*Geelong star Kimmani Barrett’s 28 points in 27 minutes proven a major point of difference between the Supercats and Dandenong Rangers on Saturday night with the Supercats winning 101-79.

*Kilsyth Cobras’ star Taylor Cameron played the full 40 minutes and scored 27 points in the Cobras’ 61-84 loss to BA COE on Sunday.

*Albury-Wodonga guards Deba George (24 points) and Dean Sepokas (24 points) both fired up for the Bandits clash against Dandenong Rangers with the Bandits taking the win 97-92 on Sunday.

*Canberra Gunners centre Ben Allen had a big performance in his club’s win over Sandringham with 19 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in the 88-85 win. Sandringham’s Junior Hairston was huge for the Sabres with 26 points, 15 rebounds and six steals.

SEABL media links

*The Advocate’s Brad Cole reports on the clash between North West Tasmania and Hobart Chargers. Report:

*Hobart Mercury’s Simeon Thomas-Wilson gives the Hobart angle to the match. Report:

*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@melanie_whelan) reports on Roy Bookers’ big night out. Report:

*Bendigo Advertiser’s Nathan Dole reports on the Braves’ win. Report:

*Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) finds out how much the Bandits’ wanted their win. Report, pics:

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