Otago: Jack Andrew, Kane Keil, Jordan Hunt, Akiva Mcbirney-Griffin, Joshua Aitcheson, Jordan Ngatai, Richard Rodger, Samuel Aruwa, Matthew Bardsley, Jardon Kenny, Benoit, Hayman, Darcy Knox.
Nelson Giants. Ryan Laumatia, Michael Karen, Tom Gargiulo, Joshua Leger, Josh Bloxham, Mika Vukona, Zeb Lovell, Thomas Ingham, Nicolas Trathen, Riley Bensemann, Theo Johnson, Tysxun Aiolupotea.
NUGGETS vs GIANTS
When: 5:30pm / Thursday June 25
Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport 3 / Sky Sport Now
Tickets: Available from $5 (children) & $20 (adults) for two games – click HERE.
Giants Starters: Tysxun Aiolupotea, Tom Ingham, Josh Bloxham, Nic Trathen, Mika Vukona.
Nuggets Starters: Jarrod Kenny, Josh Aitcheson, Jordan Ngatai, Kane Keil, Jordan Hunt.
Preview: Expect another high-octane game when the Nuggets and Giants square up. The Airs proved on night 2 that winning back-to-backs can be done, so the Nuggets will come in with a bit of confidence after a historic win last night – it was Otago’s first NBL win in 2,188 days! Lots of good match-ups on the menu here, especially across a number of younger players. Tysxun Aiolupotea is already turning some heads for the Giants, while Jordan Hunt is a big man to watch closely for the Nuggets. The return of Mika Vukona will of course be a focus tonight, as it should be, and every player (on both teams) will walk a foot taller with the great man on court. Look for Nic Trathen and Tom Ingham to keep building on their impressive opening performances, while Josh Bloxham will feel a little more comfortable after blowing out the cobwebs. For the Nuggets, the first-up performances of Jarrod Kenny and Jordan Ngatai emphasised why they were rated so highly in the draft – both delivered on cue in a thrilling game against the Jets.
Talking Point: How good is it to have Mika Vukona putting his hand up to be a part of the Sal’s NBL Showdown. After two weeks in quarantine, Vukona is expected to suit-up and go tonight, which no doubt will lift all of his teammates. The talking point tonight will be the return of Mika Vukona, as it should be.
Giants Weapon: Despite missing Vukona, Karena and Brooks on opening night, the Giants held their own and will be better for the run. A few players took their opportunity, with Nic Trathen (25pts) and Tom Ingham (23pts) right amongst it. Look for both these local Nelson lads to build off an impressive opening game.
Nuggets Weapon: Where do we start? What a fun game the Nuggets put on last night! Young (mostly) and energetic, the Nuggets very much enjoyed a victory the team and region had been waiting so long for. When the game was there to be won – enter Jordan Ngatai and Jarrod Kenny. The experienced duo got the job done and will again be the key cornerstones for the Nuggets in this one against the Giants.
Giants Leaders: Nic Trathen (25pts per game), Theo Johnson (7rbs per game), Tom Ingham / Theo Johnson (3ast per game)
Nuggets Leaders: Jarrod Kenny (28pts per game), Jordan Ngatai (10rbs per game), Jarrod Kenny (6ast per game)