Hip- pocket hit for squad as NBL ti­tle race gets se­ri­ous

Townsville Bulletin - - Game On - Bas­ket­ball writer Andrew Aloia andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

UNREPLACEABLE: In­jured Croc­o­dile Brad Wil­liamson won’t be re­placed for the cru­cial clash with the Tigers in Mel­bourne THE penny-pinch­ing Croc­o­diles could lose more than they save when Townsville trav­els light to Mel­bourne to­day.

While Crocs chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Smythe ad­mit­ted a shock de­ci­sion to suit up only nine play­ers for the cru­cial meet­ing with the Tigers was made on f i nan­cial grounds, he stren­u­ously de­nied not re­plac­ing in­jured Brad Wil­liamson would be to the detri­ment of the team’s for­tunes.

The Crocs will save $ 2000 as a re­sult of their de­ci­sion, but it’s a call which could cost them as much as two home fi­nals and the mas­sive pay­day that comes with it. Townsville need to win both of their re­main­ing away games to se­cure sec­ond place and the ad­van­tage in the three-game semi­fi­nal se­ries.

‘‘ It’s dis­ap­point­ing that we can’t throw our full re­sources to chal­lenge for that sec­ond spot, but I know the guys will fight tooth and nail this week­end,’’ coach Trevor Glee­son said.

Smythe, how­ever, said it was more than just a de­ci­sion based on dol­lars and cents.

‘‘ It’s not a knee-jerk fi­nan­cial re­ac­tion. We looked at the sta­tis­tics, looked at and bal­anced what the facts are,’’ Smythe said.

‘‘ Come the end of the sea­son we try to make sure that we haven’t placed an un­nec­es­sary fi­nan­cial bur­den on the club.

‘‘ We ( the re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion com­mit­tee) don’t t hink we are dis­ad­van­tag­ing the team by tak­ing this de­ci­sion.’’

Townsville have lost the ser­vices of sea­soned cam­paigner Wil­liamson for at least two weeks af­ter he frac­tured his hand on Tues­day in a col­li­sion with Rosell El­lis.

At the same time, Todd Blanch­field was yes­ter­day cleared to play his first game in a month, hav­ing passed a rig­or­ous train­ing test un­der the watch­ful eye of as­sis­tant coach Paul Woolpert.

Still, there are con­cerns about how many min­utes the teenager is ca­pa­ble of play­ing since he only re­turned to train­ing du­ties on Mon­day.

De­vel­op­ment player Chris Cedar

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