A TAMWORTH Thunderbolt secret basketballing weapon might have been “nuked” before he could detonate on two visiting State League sides in Tamworth this weekend.
Thunderbolt men’s coach, John Ireland, was hoping to unleash former Queensland State League star Philippe Sobieszuc on both Central Coast Waves (Saturday night) and Coffs Harbour Suns (Sunday).
However it now looks unlikely, the Thunderbolt reports.
“We were hoping to be able to play Philippe this weekend,” Ireland told The Leader.
“He’s just moved down from Queensland. Been here two weeks.”
Ireland doesn’t know much more about the Polish import other than: “He’s a graphic designer. Played B grade the other night and dropped 12 three-pointers!
“We don’t know if he’s allowed to play yet; we’re hoping for a clearance so he can.”
While Ireland and his side are waiting for news on that front it appears the Thunderbolts have lost co-captain Luke Krug.
Ireland said the young guard would head to the State Cup with the Tamworth Under 16 girls’ side he coaches this weekend.
Krug had been a key man in the Thunderbolt lineup with regular skipper David Burke away in Brazil at the World Cup.
“He’s done a great job for us this season, really lifted his game in Burkie’s absence,” Ireland said.
Being told one of his key point guards was away on coaching duties wasn’t a message the Thunderbolt wanted to hear.
Especially as the final two games are of huge importance to the Thunderbolts making the State League top eight.
“If we win both we secure a top eight berth,” he said.
“They are crucial games and would be another pretty good achievement for this group of players.”
The 2014 Thunderbolts have undergone a major reshaping with the loss of players such as Reece Craigie, Josh Dealand , Roman Jurd and Ben Monckton from last year’s starting five.
They have rebuilt well with US import Tevin Hurd part of a side where Justin Leehy, Luke Krug, Matt Monckton and Rhys Chillingworth have all grown into key personnel.
The return of David Burke plus the continued development of Joe Hassan, Cody Miller, Lawrence York and Darren Manoharan has enabled Ireland to develop a strong squad capable of going deep into the State League playoffs.
While the Thunderbolt men have a big double header the Thunderbolt women have an outside chance of making the playoffs if they can beat Newcastle on Saturday night and then the Coffs girls Sunday.