Red­backs nest at new home base

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Looklocal -

THE Perth Red­backs’ push for this year’s State Bas­ket­ball League ti­tle will be led from a new home court.

The Red­backs have moved from their long-term base at Bel­mont Oa­sis to Curtin Uni­ver­sity’s sta­dium, a change club of­fi­cials made to en­hance the game-night ex­pe­ri­ence for more of the team’s fans.

Last sea­son the Red­backs won their fi­nal six regular fix­tures to en­ter the play- offs as one of the com­pe­ti­tion’s form teams.

Fin­ish­ing third on the lad­der, they swept the Man­durah Magic in a quar­ter­fi­nal se­ries but suc­cumbed to even­tual premiers East Perth at the semi-fi­nal stage.

Men’s coach Nik Lack­ovic has been reap­pointed and is con­fi­dent that with a core group of re­turn­ing play­ers – plus a newly ar­rived Amer­i­can im­port – the team is poised to again chal­lenge for the ti­tle when the sea­son be­gins this month.

Re­turn­ing play­ers in­clude club cap­tain Joel Wag­ner, Den­nis Tawhiti, Jar­rad Prior, Ash Stephens, Zach Maka­vil­i­to­gia, Jamieson Lewis and Tim Ren­dulic.

“The re­ten­tion of our main core group, who I’ve had for two sea­sons now, helps with the fa­mil­iari­sa­tion of what we run at both ends of the floor and it gives own­er­ship and lead­er­ship of this within our group,” Lack­ovic said.

“We are only go­ing to ever be as good as our lead­ers, and ul­ti­mately it is their team; I’m here just to guide the ship.”

For­mer club ju­nior Ben Smith, a shoot­ing guard, has re­turned to the Red­backs af­ter a stint with Kala­munda Eastern Suns, and point guard AJ John­ston is an­other player re­join­ing the squad.

This sea­son tips-off on March 14.

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