Allen taps into in­ner ag­gres­sion

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Andrew Aloia andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

A VOLATILE ‘‘ Rep­tile Rum­ble’’ at The Snakepit is the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for the real Ben Allen to lash out.

In fact, the 23-year-old has gone so far as to in­vite the Taipans to get un­der his skin in Fri­day’s north­ern derby.

It’s not that Allen is a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment, but rather he was remi n d e d b y Me l b o u r n e ’ s Wad e Hel­li­well at the week­end what a good dose of rage can do for his game.

‘‘ I played an­gry, Wade sparked me up a lit­tle bit,’’ Allen said.

‘‘ It was good go­ing at him. I’ve got no idea what he did, I think we were just bang­ing and he might have popped me one and got me an­gry. From there I just thought ‘ well, it’s on now’.’’

Allen ab­sorbed the phys­i­cal bat­ter­ing and un­leashed a game-defin­ing fi­nal-term per­for­mance with his fury, hit­ting 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quar­ter.

Hav­ing pro­duced a sea­son-best per­for­mance, Allen is now look­ing for trou­ble.

‘‘ When I play with that bit of fire, then I play bet­ter so I re­ally need to look to try get that against Cairns this week,’’ Allen said.

‘‘ I’ll find some­one to pick on in that game. ( Ian) Cross­white or ( Alex) Loughton, ei­ther one of them can get me an­gry.’’

T h e r e i s

met h o d

b e h i n d

t h e rookie’s mad­ness. Sim­ply put, a tem­per makes up for trep­i­da­tion.

‘‘ It’s that ag­gres­sive­ness, back­ing your­self and when I do that I’m a good player,’’ he said.

‘‘ It’s when I sec­ond guess my­self and not go at some­thing like 100 per cent, that is when I get my­self into trou­ble and I don’t play well.’’

Too of­ten that has been the case for one of the nation’s high­est-rated young tal­ents, who came off a stun­ning fi­nal year with US col­lege gi­ants St Mary’s in the NCAA.

The ad­just­ment to the NBL in his first pro­fes­sional sea­son has been tough on the cen­tre, who went from start­ing five se­nior to play­ing for ra­tioned min­utes in sup­port of lead­ing big Luke Schen­scher.

‘‘ You sit for a while on the bench and then come in kind of know­ing your role play­ing four or five min­utes here and there to re­place Schen­sch, so I go out there and think ‘ I don’t want to mess any­thing up’,’’ Allen said.

‘‘ You go out there not try­ing to turn the ball over and just pull down as many re­bounds as I can, just do­ing the lit­tle things.

‘‘ Once you get your­self into that role, it’s hard to see your­self as a full­time scorer on a team.’’

But in a stun­ning 15-minute stint, he’s re­gained an aura of his for­mer self and filled his team­mates with un­wa­ver­ing be­lief in his ver­sa­til­ity.

And it’s come in the nick of time for a side chas­ing its maiden cham­pi­onship.

‘‘ You al­ways want to play your best bas­ket­ball to­wards the end when it counts the most,’’ he said.

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