Moller missing for big Huskies games
THE Southern Huskies’ slim hopes of featuring in the New Zealand NBL playoffs have taken a huge hit with captain Craig Moller unavailable for this weekend’s crunch road trip.
The Huskies meet Canterbury for the third consecutive clash on Friday night — having lost the previous two in Hobart last Thursday and Launceston on Saturday night — before backing up against Southland 24 hours later.
And the task of reversing the results against the Rams has been made more difficult with Moller to miss because of commitments with a representative NBL team.
Moller is part of an 11player NBL select team to tour China later this month, with the group having a training camp this Friday and Saturday in Sydney before the three-match series begins on June 19.
While disappointed he will be without one of his strike weapons for the biggest pair of games in the club’s short history, Huskies coach Anthony Stewart said it opens up an opportunity for others to step up and fill the void.
“I have always been a coach and when I recruit players if they get opportunities to play at a higher level then you have to support them,” Stewart said.
“It now gives the opportunity for other guys to step up and really show they should be playing more minutes.
“Craig is hard to cover but we haven’t shot the ball well, we had a high level of turnovers in the second game [against Canterbury], we gave up 25 foul shots to nine, and you lose on the buzzer by two points.
“It may actually help a few others get the ball a bit more and get their groove on.
“In particular Marcel [Jones] and Tre [Nichols] and Jalen [Billups], they will become the focal points and then Lachie [Cummins], Bryan [Michaels] and even Mason Bragg will get more responsibility offensively.
“We would rather be going into battle with Craig, but at the same time it really gives others a green light to be able to make more plays.”
After the back-to-back losses to the Rams the Huskies sit in fifth spot on the NZNBL ladder, one win behind the Sharks in what now looks a two-way battle for fourth spot.