Unwanted Tiger heads home to wreak vengeance
HE’S the discarded champion who is returning home to haunt the Melbourne Tigers.
For the first time since being shown the door at the end of last season, Townsville Crocodiles point guard Nathan Crosswell heads back to the site of his fondest basketball memories – The Cage.
Tonight, however, is a bittersweet flashback for the 31-year-old after the Tigers lost faith with an ageing star who only two years earlier led them to an NBL title. It’s a decision that Crosswell has made them regret, as the experienced guard continues to thrive with the Crocs at the same time that Melbourne have fallen on hard times.
Now he’s intent on hitting them where it hurts most, with a whitewash of victories against his former employers where he spent half of his 12-year career.
‘‘ I really wanted to finish my c a r e e r i n M e l b o u r n e a n d I couldn’t,’’ Crosswell said.
‘‘ I had a few unfortunate injuries last year that probably didn’t help my case, but I’ve been given a lifeline up here and if we can beat them three times out of three then I walk out of there on Saturday night grinning like a Cheshire cat.’’
E v e n t h o u g h h e ’ s a l r e a d y comforted by the two comprehensive beatings of Melbourne to date, Crosswell regards this trip to the Victorian capital as the most emotional reunion.
‘‘ It’s going to be strange walking on to the floor wearing another colour than red,’’ he said.
‘‘ This is where I started playing when I was 18, I spent a lot of years in Melbourne before going back to the club for four years and winning a championship.’’
It might be at the point of the season when the clash could be shrugged off as a ‘‘ gimme’’ between a Crocs side warming up to fight for the title and a Melbourne outfit languishing in seventh place, but Crosswell knows better.
‘‘ They can’t play for finals but they are playing for jobs right now,’’ he said. ‘‘ There is no man more dangerous than one who is playing for his livelihood, for his kids, for his family.’’