Break­ers look to Pen­ney

Waikato Times - - Sport -

Break­ers coach Paul Henare is hop­ing a healthy Kirk Pen­ney can spark his bench into ac­tion as they look to put last week’s false start be­hind them against the Syd­ney Kings.

The Break­ers stum­bled out of the blocks in their Aus­tralian NBL sea­son opener with a sloppy de­feat to Cairns, but have the per­fect chance to re­deem them­selves in Auck­land tonight in the first of two back-to-back home games against the highly fan­cied Syd­ney out­fit.

For Pen­ney, it was an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally quiet start as the star veteran strug­gled with the early ef­fects of a stom­ach virus, scor­ing just seven points with one as­sist in 26 min­utes off the bench.

After be­ing laid low at the start of the week, he has trained for the last two days and with Henare iden­ti­fy­ing pro­duc­tion from his bench ro­ta­tion as a key area of im­prove­ment, Pen­ney has a piv­otal role to play at Spark Arena.

‘‘Kirk is look­ing good. we sat him out Tues­day but he is bounc­ing back from feel­ing quite sick, but he is look­ing sharp to­day [Thursday],’’ Henare said.

‘‘Him, Shea [Illi], Finn [De­lany], Rob­bie [Loe], they had a good prac­tice, they put the start­ing group un­der pres­sure and that’s what we need from them ev­ery sin­gle time they step on the floor.’’

The Kings also head into the game look­ing to open their sea­son ac­count after con­ced­ing a round-high 105 points in the loss to Ade­laide.

Henare is ex­pect­ing a a fierce re­sponse from the An­drew Gaze-coached side. ‘‘They will be the same as us, no one likes los­ing and you want to bounce back and win. I ex­pect they will be fired up for this game.’’

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