Topic: Basketball

Expectation high as Breakers launch 2017/18 season

By Eru Paranihi
  • Auckland

Skycity Breakers forward Jordan Ngatai believes their Tall Blacks representatives will carry that Asia Cup form into this season's ANBL competition which tips off next month.

The Breakers launched their season this week with the hope of a fifth title.

Their Tall Black representatives like Ngatai (Ngāti Toa) have managed to transition easily back into Breakers mode.

Ngatai says, "Playing basketball year-round, I haven't had really a break where the body can just relax. It might be out of shape if I did relax."

Coach Paul Henare will have a close eye on players like Derone Raukawa (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Raukawa).

Having the national coach close-by could work in the favour of Raukawa.

He says, "I guess it does, so he can see you on a daily basis, see what you do, see how you practice. So he knows, there's no hiding from him."

The team unveiled a new kit during a blessing ceremony. For the Breakers' Māori roster, getting up at the crack of dawn was a new experience.

"I learned a lot about why [we did the blessing], and what the jersey represents," says Breakers newest member Mitchell Newton (Ngāti Apa, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi).

"It was awesome. I would wake up again just to have that same feeling that I had when we were doing the karakia (blessing)," says Ngatai.  

Already, signs are looking positive for the North Shore based squad who have only spent a week together.

"All the boys have fitted in real well, we're working together as a unit," says Raukawa.

The team now head to Melbourne for the first of their pre-season fixtures. Henare will see first-hand what he has to work with.