The Roar
The Roar


Sixers go quiet ahead of Game 3 vs 'dirty' Hawks

Daniel Johnson of the Adelaide 36ers. (Chris Pike)
22nd February, 2017

Captain Mitch Creek followed MVP Jerome Randle’s lead in calling the Illawarra Hawks dirty ahead of Game 2 of their NBL semi-final series and now the pressure is on the minor premier Adelaide 36ers to reach the grand final with the Perth Wildcats already waiting.

Just hours after winning the NBL MVP award for the 2016-17 season, star 36ers point guard Randle caused a stir when he called out his Hawks opponents for being team dirty and saying he didn’t like or respect any of them.

He backed up the talk in Game 1 in Adelaide with 26 points to lead the 36ers to the 93-78 victory.

Hawks coach Rob Beveridge didn’t hide his disappointment over Randle’s comments following the first game of the series, but it didn’t end there.

In the lead up to Sunday’s Game 2 in Wollongong, Sixers captain Creek backed up what Randle said. Before we go on, here’s what Creek said in the Adelaide Advertiser.

“I back Jerome 100 per cent. They are a dirty bunch of players who can’t play at our level so their only chance is to try anything but basketball,” Creek said.

“We’re a far superior team as individuals and as a team so they have to resort to playing dirty.”

The Hawks then went on to put in an impressive showing in front of their raucous home fans to win Game 2 on Sunday 100-94 to force the decider back in Adelaide on Thursday night.


The prize is a grand final berth against the Wildcats with Perth having wrapped up their series against the Cairns Taipans in two games, winning Game 2 at Perth Arena 74-66 and ending the career of the great Mark Worthington in the process.

There has been plenty of spite in both series with the NBL finding reason to fine and admonish Adelaide’s Eric Jacobsen, Illawarra’s AJ Ogilvy and Perth’s Matt Knight. All three avoided suspension.

All eyes are now on Adelaide on Thursday with the winner out of the 36ers and Hawks to advance to the grand final series starting on Sunday, either in Adelaide or Perth.

With Randle and Creek’s comments about the Hawks being dirty, likely aimed in particular at Kevin White, Mitch Norton, Michael Holyfield and Ogilvy, there’s no question added spite in the contest on top of the fact a grand final spot is up for grabs.

Following the comments from Creek and Randle, 36ers coach Joey Wright told his players this week to avoid talking to the media in the lead up to Game 3 to focus on the job at hand and avoid adding further fuel to Illawarra’s fire.

Beveridge was proud of his Illawarra team for bouncing back to win Game 2, but knows that it’s going to be even tougher in Adelaide in the series decider.

“They wanted to win on our home court and rub it in our faces, no question at all, so they gave it everything they possibly could. For us to be able to handle that was great but we know that we have to go to another level to handle the Adelaide crowd,” Beveridge said.


“Handling their boisterous crowd is definitely part of it, but they are the best team when they run. When they rip it off the rim and ram it down your throat, I haven’t seen many better teams than Adelaide in a long time.

“We play an up-tempo style but they are at another level than what we are. We actually almost have to go away from us trying to have that up-tempo game if we want to beat them. We are trying to slow it down a lot because I know that they are that good, that is their bread and butter.”

With the 36ers having finished as minor premiers for the first time since 2000 as they chase the club’s first championship since 2002, Beveridge has no question the pressure is all on the Sixers in Game 3.

While they do have the home court advantage, they also have the expectations of winning and Beveridge wants the Hawks to take advantage of that.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure on them because they are the No. 1 team. They are on their home court and there was talk weeks ago that Adelaide had already won the championship,” Beveridge said.

“They are a great ball club and they are very well coached and have competitors, and have every position filled. They have everything that I look for in a team so I know they are a hell of a team.

“We respect them so much, we’re not going into any of this hatred rubbish at all. It’s respect. We don’t fear them but we respect everything about them. They will probably have more pressure on them than us because the expectation is that Adelaide will win on Thursday night.”


GAME 1: Adelaide 36ers 93 beat Illawarra Hawks 78 – Titanium Security Arena

GAME 1: Cairns Taipans 69 lost to Perth Wildcats 91 – Cairns Convention Centre

GAME 2: Illawarra Hawks 100 beat Adelaide 36ers 94 – WIN Entertainment Centre

GAME 2: Perth Wildcats 74 beat Cairns Taipans 66 – Perth Arena

GAME 3: Adelaide 36ers v Illawarra Hawks – Titanium Security Arena 7.30pm