Perth Wildcats lose season opener as former player Beal comes back to haunt them

Former Wildcat Jermaine Beale takes on former teammate Jarrod Kenny. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Former Wildcat Jermaine Beale takes on former teammate Jarrod Kenny. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

THE Perth Wildcats have been defeated in the opening game of the 2016-17 NBL season, falling to the Brisbane Bullets 65-72.

After jumping to an early lead, the Wildcats struggled to maintain a rhythm offensively, as the Bullets claimed victory in their first game since returning to the competition.

Jameel McKay was a stand-out in his Wildcats debut, registering 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, while Damian Martin worked his way into the contest with six points, four assists and four steals.

After leading 40-30 at half time, the Wildcats scored just 25 points in the second half.

Making the defeat all the harder to swallow for the Wildcats was former player Jermaine Beal leading Brisbane’s fightback.

Despite going for the just two points in the first half, the former Perth guard Beal ignited with 12 points in the third quarter alone.

Coach Trevor Gleeson was disappointed his side lost its lose grip after seemingly being in control.

“Our team still has to find our identity,” he said.

“I thought we had an opportunity to put the game away in the third quarter, but we weren’t tough enough and we didn’t play hard enough.

“They started hitting shots and we didn’t respond at all. Our work ethic didn’t carry from the first half into the second half.”

The Wildcats will look to regroup as they return to Perth for their home opener against Cairns Taipans at Perth Arena tomorrow night.