NT News

Will Jets benefit from star playing?

- JOSH SPASARO

ANSETT coaching director Paul Rowse wants to make one thing clear – he is a big fan of elite Territory junior talent, such as Tracy Village’s Will Burton. But Rowse also wants another thing known – rules are rules.

Ansett first made it known to the Darwin Basketball Associatio­n that star guard Burton had not played the required six (revised down from seven due the Covid-affected matches) regular-season games before he lined up for Jets in Friday night’s eliminatio­n final against Ellas.

Burton – a standout for Mildura in the Big V Division 2 competitio­n – only returned to Darwin in time to play four games, with Victoria under Covid restrictio­ns.

Due to these conditions, the talented 18-year-old was given a special exemption by the DBA to play in the 2021 finals.

“Will is a great player and great for Darwin basketball – but rules are rules,” Rowse said. “I don’t have anything against Will or Tracy Village.

“I thought the matter was over with after I saw he wouldn’t play the required (six) games to qualify for finals.

“Now you have to question where to from here? If this is allowed to happen, where does it stop?”

Burton was allowed to play in the finals series after the DBA voted in his favour for a special exemption, however it was not a unanimous decision.

Jets coach Dan East believes the issue has been dealt with appropriat­ely.

“Will fell short, but these are special circumstan­ces,” East said.

“He went to Melbourne to continue playing, and he couldn’t keep doing that, so he came back to Darwin.

“We followed a process and a decision was made.

“It’s exciting to have Will back for us.

“The boys were going well before he came back, but he’s brought a lot to our team.

“Will is one of the best shooters I’ve coached and he’s also very athletic. He’s very hard to stop.

“We lost six players from last year and it looked like this would be a rebuilding year.

“But the boys still believed they could play in the finals.”

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