Nor­ton’s NBL form re­warded with na­tional se­lec­tion for Asia Cup se­ries Boom time for Mitch

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH jonathon. tuxworth@ news. com. au MATT LOGUE

MITCH Nor­ton has been sum­moned to a num­ber of meet­ings af­ter Boomers trainon camps be­fore and it’s al­ways ended the same way – “sorry, you’ve just missed out on the team”.

So, it’s no sur­prise the Townsville prod­uct was over the moon when he was told the news he would make his in­ter­na­tional de­but in Aus­tralia’s SYD­NEY Kings swing­man Brad New­ley will use the Boomers’ Asia Cup cam­paign in Le­banon as an in­valu­able chance to push his claims for a spot at the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

Af­ter miss­ing out on Australian se­lec­tion for the Rio Olympics last year, New­ley is back in the green and gold for the Asia Cup.

The Boomers will field a team of NBL play­ers, with stars like Patty Mills and An­drew Bogut un­avail­able as they pre­pare for the NBA sea­son.

The ab­sence of Mills and co is a loss, but it opens the door for play­ers like New­ley to ce­ment a po­si­tion in a full- strength Boomers side.

Aus­tralia have im­por­tant tour­na­ments com­ing up, in­clud­ing the World Cup in China in 2019 and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“We are miss­ing some big time guys, but things and can hap­pen and spots can open up, so we’ve got to be ready at all times,” said New­ley, who made his se­nior Boomers de­but at the 2006 Com­mon­wealth Games in Mel­bourne. “It’s pretty big for me. “I’ve been lucky to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia pretty much my whole ca­reer.

“Even now I’m a lit­tle bit older, I still feel the same way go­ing to se­lec­tion.

“I’m pretty ex­cited.” FIBA Asia Cup cam­paign Le­banon.

The Boomers kick off their cam­paign against Ja­pan tonight ( Australian time) and the Illawarra Hawks point guard wants to prove coach An­drej Le­ma­nis’s faith is well placed.

“I’m over the moon,” he said.

“It was pretty nerve- rack­ing walk­ing into the room with the coaches there ( af­ter train­ing camp), but when they said ‘ you’re good to go, we’re tak­ing you to Le­banon’ it was a pretty amaz­ing feel­ing.

“I’ve been in­volved in a few camps but this is the first time in I’ll pull on a Boomers jer­sey, which is pretty ex­cit­ing.”

The 24- year- old had a strong first sea­son with the Hawks af­ter link­ing up with them when the Townsville Croc­o­diles folded.

He av­er­aged eight points and three as­sists a game to help guide them to the NBL grand fi­nal se­ries, where they were beaten by Perth.

Nor­ton is renowned for his de­fence and love of a scrap, and hopes to use those qual­i­ties to press his claims for a spot in the World Cup team, when Aus­tralia’s NBA stars will be avail­able. TOWNSVILLE Flames star Darcee Garbin made a bit­ter­sweet exit from the city last night with World Univer­sity Games com­mit­ments mean­ing she will miss the QBL play­offs.

A cham­pi­onship win­ner with the Townsville Fire, Garbin has starred for the Flames in the WNBL off­sea­son with im­pres­sive av­er­ages of 23.4 points and 10.2 re­bounds per game mak­ing her a le­git­i­mate MVP can­di­date.

The 23- year- old will be sorely missed by the Flames in their fi­nals opener against Glad­stone this week­end but Garbin had full con­fi­dence in

The four teams who qual­ify for the Asia Cup semi- fi­nals will qual­ify for the World Cup in 2019.

Nor­ton ap­proached the train- on camp with more con­fi­dence than pre­vi­ously af­ter his break­out cam­paign for Illawarra.

“Com­ing off the back of a pretty good year with the Hawks, I had a bit more con­fi­dence about my game that I can match it with the guys there,” Nor­ton said.

“I took that into the camp and I guess did well enough to make the team.

“Ev­ery time you pull on a her team­mates to get the job done with­out her.

“I al­ways knew there was a chance I would miss QBL fi­nals if I was se­lected for the Uni Games and I let the club know that be­fore the sea­son started,” she said.

“Any chance to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia al­ways takes pri­or­ity but I’ve got full faith in the girls for the Glad­stone game.

“We’ve been play­ing great the last few weeks, we had three good wins on the week­end and the girls can go down there quite con­fi­dent.”

While Garbin was dis­ap­pointed to Boomers jer­sey it’s a chance to show what you’ve got on a ma­jor stage.

“I’ll go out and play my role and try to work on dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the game I’ve been work­ing on and hope­fully it’s good enough to be in­vited to a camp with those ( NBA) guys.

“Any time you’re train­ing with NBA play­ers, lis­ten­ing and watch­ing them is al­ways a ma­jor tool.”

The Boomers- Ja­pan clash will be tele­vised on Fox Sports from 11pm tonight, with the bronze and gold medal games Aus­tralia hope to be play­ing in tak­ing place on Au­gust 20. miss the post- sea­son with her Flames team­mates, the chance to pull on the green and gold was an op­por­tu­nity she couldn’t turn down.

Garbin is joined in the team by a host of the WNBL’s top young play­ers and af­ter miss­ing on a medal at the 2015 games the James Cook Univer­sity stu­dent is de­ter­mined to im­prove on that re­sult when the games kick off in Chi­nese Taipei later this month.

“I’ve been pretty happy with how con­sis­tent I’ve played through­out the QBL sea­son and that gives me a lot of con­fi­dence go­ing into the next few weeks,” she said.

“I re­ally en­joyed the 2015 games but it was dis­ap­point­ing to not get a medal and the ex­pec­ta­tion on any Aussie team go­ing into a tour­na­ment is to be in those medal play­offs.

“A few of the girls on this team were in the un­der- 19s Aussie team with me a few years ago and I know we’re all look­ing for­ward to go­ing over there and play­ing our best.”

Coached by former Fire coach Chris Lu­cas, the team will spend the next few weeks in Ja­pan for train­ing and a warm- up tour­na­ment, be­fore the games get un­der way in Chi­nese Taipei on Au­gust 21.

KEY PLAYER: Townsville Flames star Darcee Garbin, pic­tured in ac­tion against Rock­hamp­ton’s Katrina Clif­ford, will miss the QBL fi­nals. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

Boomers guard Mitch Nor­ton.

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