By David McPherson
Fresh off a win with the Boomers at the Asia Cup in Lebanon, Brad Newley tells us how a team of rivals came together to be champions of Asia.
Good job on the result over in Lebanon Brad.
“Thanks, it was a long tournament with not really that many games so it was interesting to see how we stayed focused and managed to get through it but it was a pretty dominant display by the Aussies.”
Obviously the Boomers’ first Asia Cup was bit of a change-up from what we’re used to with Australian basketball?
“It’s going to benefit us going forwards. We only ever played short series against the Kiwis so now we’re playing more tournaments and more meaningful games. I think once we get to the big stage like the Comm Games or World Cup we’ll be better trained and ready for tournament play.”
You went 6-0, how did you rate the team’s performance?
“It was a great balanced performance and everyone stepped up in one game in one way or another. We peaked right at the end of the tournament and it was a credit to the staff we had – the coaches and the medical people getting everybody right. Also it was a credit to us locking-in to the system and sticking to our style of play which got us the win.”
And yourself as well – saving your best to last and top-scoring with 18 points in the grand final?
“I timed it nicely for the grand final. It was a bit of an up and down week for me but I just stayed with the process and believed in myself and came out in the grand final full of confidence. As the veteran I am on the team I kind of showed the way to go and everyone jumped on – it was a good experience.”
How was the team dynamic with a bit of a different feel having the all-NBL squad?
“It was an interesting one because in teams gone past with Australia, not a lot of guys have played with each other because everyone plays in different competitions all around the world. This was unique in the fact that we were all rivals in the Australian comp. It was similar to like a State of Origin where we all had to come together and put our rivalries aside and stick together and play hard as a team.”
Was it a good trial run for GC2018 given that the team will likely have a similar make-up?
“Yeah I’d imagine the team will be very similar with most of the NBL players because the overseas competitions will be in-season still. Going forward I think the Asia Cup is really important in the lead-up to the Comm Games and definitely good practice. A couple of the teams from the Asia tournament will be there also.”
You got the win over New Zealand who are in your pool for GC2018, is that important as a mental victory to get one over them?
“I think by the time the Comm Games roll around they’ll be a lot better – they’ll probably have most of their NBL players. They’ll be a force because a lot of their NBL players play on the same club team so they almost get a permanent camp, whereas with the Australian team we have a few from Sydney, a few from Adelaide, a couple from Cairns… so everybody’s spread all over the place.”
“New Zealand sent a younger team across but for what they sent they fought really hard – they just fell short of the bronze medal. Going forward they’ll improve and by the time the Comm Games roll around I think we’ll have a pretty tight contest.”
As someone who played in Melbourne in 2006 I guess you’ll be looking to draw on what will be a pretty similar experience with the home Games?
“The Melbourne Comm Games was unreal. The lead-up games we played in Country Victoria and eventually we came over and played the final in Melbourne. We were losing at half time and it took a couple of big plays from guys to get us over the line. It was a bit interesting because we kind of had the weight of Australia on our shoulders but we shook it off and managed to come out with a win. We met the Prime Minister after the game and it was pretty exciting.”
You’ll be heading up to Townsville this time around for the lead-up games – what are you expecting up there?
“Townsville people love their basketball. I was lucky enough to start my career up there but unfortunately they don’t have a club team anymore so they’re probably itching for some world-class basketball. Hopefully they’ll come and fill the stands and support their boys.”
How do you think we’re tracking for the Games and our ambitions for GC2018?
“We spoke about the Comm Games at the camp leading up to the Asia Cup. Everybody was really on-board and excited about it. I think everything’s tracking well, we’ve got our domestic season starting up here soon and I think we’ll carry that form straight into the Comm Games – we’ll be in peak form by the time they roll around.”