Cotton in frame to take on Taipans

The Weekend Post - - Sport -

PERTH Wild­cats coach Trevor Gleeson has not ruled out NBL MVP Bryce Cotton re­turn­ing for to­mor­row’s home clash with Cairns.

“It’s just be­ing com­fort­able with the ball in his hand and ob­vi­ously it’s his shoot­ing hand, so I don’t want him get­ting out there where he’s a bit timid with that,” Gleeson said.

The Syd­ney Kings beat the Wild­cats 77-72 in Syd­ney on Thurs­day.

Even though the Kings ended the lad­der-lead­ing Wild­cats’ seven-match win­ning streak, Gleeson still took pos­i­tives out of the game.

Guard Damian Martin, in his first game since Oc­to­ber 27 be­cause of a calf in­jury, showed his trade­mark de­ter­mi­na­tion.

With star im­port Cotton’s in­jured thumb not im­prov­ing enough for him to play, and Mitch Nor­ton hav­ing lim­ited time af­ter get­ting in­jured on Boomers duty ear­lier in the week, Martin played more than half the game.

He helped re­strict pro­lific Syd­ney guard Jerome Ran­dle to a sea­son-low eight points and was in­stru­men­tal in the Wild­cats’ sec­ond-half fight­back.

“You’ve got to love Damo, don’t you, when it’s all said and done,” Gleeson said.

“He’s go­ing to have a statue in prob­a­bly ev­ery sta­dium in Perth.

“He just plays with so much pas­sion and in­ten­sity out there and he does all the in­tan­gi­ble stuff that doesn’t come out on the stat sheet.

“It’s the de­flec­tions, it’s the lead­er­ship, it’s just the level he plays at.

“He’s go­ing to go down as one of the best play­ers ever from the NBL.”

Perth won the re­bound count 44-29, Clint Steindl scored 16 off the bench and Boomers for­ward Nick Kay was prom­i­nent down the stretch, fin­ish­ing with 17 points on seven from 11 field goal shoot­ing.

“Nick is just a workhorse, he’s fan­tas­tic out there, we’ve got to get him the ball a lit­tle bit more,” Gleeson said.

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