THE re-signing of Shawn Redhage and the addition of new players means the Perth Redbacks’ men’s team is as dangerous as ever as they look for consecutive championships.
The State Basketball League tips off on March 16 with the men and women taking part in a double header against the Lakeside Lightning at the Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre.
The men defeated the Joondalup Wolves 103-70 in the grand final while the women were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Mandurah.
Men’s coach Nik Lackovic said the squad was looking good after a solid block of pre-season training from mid-November and there was a focus on developing young players.
“I didn’t feel any pressure before winning the championship and I don’t feel any pressure now we’ve won it, I just need to keep preparing for training and the games,” he said.
“We’ll raise the banner at our first game and then we’ll move on.”
The Redbacks have been able to secure Redhage’s services for a second season, after he proved crucial in their championship run.
“When we brought in Shawn last season, I talked about continuing a legacy of success when no one thought he was available,” Lackovic said.
“It’s a significant day when someone of his stature, who was a Boomer and won championships everywhere, wants to keep playing here.”
The club has been able to sign Jackson Hussey and Mo Barrow, who both have previously played for the Geraldton Buccaneers.
“Hussey has been phenomenal, he was doing three individual sessions with me per week to learn our systems,” Lackovic said.
“When you are looking at guys, you want them to have DNA of toughness and super competitiveness but to also be able to fit in our system.
“Mo has the physical tools but he also does the little things that help you win, his defence is exceptional and he is a low maintenance, terrific guy.”
Charles Nix has joined the Redbacks as coach of the women’s team after winning the Men’s SBL Coach of the Year Award last year with the South West Slammers.
“We’ve recruited well with players like Kayla Standish and Mikayla Pirini, who played juniors for Australia and over east,” Nix said.
“My decision to come and coach the girls came after I spoke with Perth Lynx coach Andy Stewart who said coaching men and then women made him a better coach.
“I’m a defensive minded coach, so I’ll work on our play from that end and in transition too.
“We have internal targets but realistically we want to improve and push for a top four spot.”