Flavell eyes Breakers job

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Southland Sharks coach Judd Flavell issues some instructions during a Sharks training session at ILT Stadium Southland this week.

SOUTHLAND Sharks coach Judd Flavell has confirmed he has put his hand up for a shot at the vacant New Zealand Breakers head coaching position.

The Auckland-based Breakers team, which plays in the Australian Basketball League, is searching for a new coach after Paul Henare opted to not extend his contract with the organisation at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Henare stepped into the Breakers job after coaching Southland in the New Zealand league and now Flavell would like to follow the same path.

Flavell has been involved with the Breakers for the past 12 years in various roles, including as an assistant coach in recent years.

The former Tall Black said the Breakers had been a big part of his life and he would love to have a shot as head coach.

Flavell wasn’t sure of when the Breakers organisation would make a decision, but he expected with the free agency period looming it would probably have to have someone in place soon.

The Southland Sharks will take their first tentative steps towards the 2018 National Basketball League season on Saturday.

The Sharks will take on an Otago Invitational team in their first pre-season hit out in Gore.

While Southland will be minus many frontline players, the preseason fixture will still provide an opportunity for Flavell to take a look at how some of his players are shaping up.

He said it was a chance to put their playing system to the test and make an early statement.

“We are missing a few guys, but this is the start of our campaign. We want to show what the Sharks in 2018 is all about,” Flavell said.

Flavell arrived in Invercargill last week after another season as assistant coach with the Breakers.

James Hunter, Luke Aston and new recruit Tom Vodanovich also began training with the Sharks last week.

Derone Raukawa, Reuben Te Rangi and Alex Pledger are on Tall Blacks duties at the moment and will link with the Sharks after the Commonwealth Games.

American import Orlando Coleman will arrive in Southland next week, while the Sharks other overseas import, Jarred Weeks, is likely to arrive in the week of the competition opener on April 26.

Teams this year can sign three overseas imports compared with the two imports they previously have been able to use.

It means Southland does still have an opening to sign one more import for their 2018 campaign.

Flavell said they will fill the spot but he was taking his time to figure out just what type of player would provide the best fit before he made that call.

The Sharks will open the season with four away games, the first against Hawke’s Bay on April 26.

Their first home game at ILT Stadium Southland is on Thursday, May 10, against Manawatu.

Next weekend, all eight NBL teams will converge on Palmerston North for the preseason Blitz tournament, which will run from April 20 to 22 before the season proper gets under way.

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