Hire praises Knight

North Coast Weekender - - Front Page - With Greg Hire

WE’LL be treat­ing our two clashes against New Zealand over the next four days as a mini play­off se­ries.

It al­ways makes me laugh when I read pre-sea­son pre­dic­tions that don’t men­tion the Break­ers as a threat. We have the ut­most re­spect for them.

Like us, they’ve had a sta­ble ros­ter for most of this decade, which has led to mul­ti­ple cham­pi­onships.

Play­ers like Mika Vukona, Kirk Pen­ney and Tom Aber­crom­bie, who I con­sider one of the NBL’s most un­der­rated bas­ket­ballers, know each other’s games in­side out.

New Zealand’s pos­ses­sion game is im­mense; they av­er­age 15 of­fen­sive re­bounds and we only av­er­age nine.

It leaves us with a big test in Auck­land tonight be­fore re­turn­ing to Perth Arena to face them again on Sun­day.

The big news of the week was the re­tire­ment of an ab­so­lute cham­pion of the game in Matty Knight.

Ad­mit­tedly, we dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of him re­tir­ing dur­ing the off sea­son after our cham­pi­onship cel­e­bra­tions had died down. But he was still pas­sion­ate about the game and still play­ing good basketball, so there was no rea­son for him to do so if he was to be med­i­cally cleared.

It was a dif­fer­ent story when I spoke to him last Thurs­day and he men­tioned re­tir­ing. He had to put his health first after be­com­ing sus­cep­ti­ble to head knocks.

It’s not like he’s sit­ting on the out­side tak­ing long-range shots, he’s in there bat­tling the big­gest guys in the league.

The mo­ments we needed some­one to step up, Matty was al­ways there, put­ting his body on the line to take charge in the key or hus­tling to nail a clutch shot. I’m go­ing to miss his in­flu­ence on the court.

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