Thunderbolts get inside word on rivals

TAMWORTH Thunderbolt men’s coach John Ireland has received a little “intel” from a former Thunderbolt on Saturday night’s Waratah State League cross-over finals opponents Hawkesbury Jets Orange.

Darren Manoharan passes off on a weekend where he produced some good minutes for coach John Ireland.  100814BSE23

Darren Manoharan passes off on a weekend where he produced some good minutes for coach John Ireland. 100814BSE23

The Thunderbolts tackle the Hawkesbury Jets Orange in a sudden-death finals match up on the Tamworth Sports Dome’s show court at 7pm.

A loss and the Thunderbolts finish their season so John Ireland, crook with the flu, welcomed some information on the HJO from former star Thunderbolt guard Reece Craigie this week. “Reece is playing with Ryde in the metro competition and played them a few times this season,” Ireland croaked.

He gave me a little bit of an insight of what to expect.

“Reece said they are an aging group of guards and don’t run up and down the floor quick. They are also a bit undersized in their forwards.

“That suits us because we’re not real big either, but we do have some good talls in Rhys Chillingworth, our captain Bourkie (David Bourke) and Cody Miller.

“I’m quietly confident we can make the final four.

“We’ve got Krugie back too.”

Point guard Luke Krug missed last weekend’s final double header successes against Central Coast Waves and Coffs Harbour Suns to take his Thunderbolt Under 16 girls side to the State Cup.

“Luke’s been in really good form for us and will be a major bonus.

“Just a shame we’ve lost Lawrence (York). He’s got a wedding in England.”

The Thunderbolts cannot play latest recruit, Polish guard Phil Sobieszuk, either.

He doesn’t qualify for the finals after moving to Tamworth from Brisbane last month.

The former Brisbane State League guard debuted with a 15 point game in Saturday night’s 92-46 win over the Central Coast Waves where he hit his first four three-point shots.

He then backed up with a 10-point game in Sunday’s 80-64 win over the Coffs Harbour Suns.

While Sobieszuk cannot play the Waratah State League Finals he will be part of a new look side in 2015.

“It’s a shame he doesn’t qualify (players have to have played 40 per cent of games) for the finals but he’s a player we can build next year’s team around. “The same as Lawrence. It’s sad he’s missing the finals because of the wedding but he’s another one improving and we do have some great young Under 18s coming through to put with the likes of Rhys Chill (Chillingworth) and Justin (Leehy).

Sobieszuk played with the South West Pirates in the Queensland State League.

“I did okay,” he said after Saturday night’s win.

“Made some threes.

“It was a bit slower than Brisbane and not as physical but should be great playing down here.”