Perth Wildcats to start life under new coach John Rillie against Adelaide 36ers on Friday night – The West Australian

Perth Wildcats coach John Rillie believes having three players representing Australia during the off-season has handed them a head start on his style of play, given he intends to use several of the philosophies from the Boomers’ team.
The Wildcats will get their first taste of life under Rillie on Friday night when the team has its first match of the pre-season against Adelaide in Eaton. The Wildcats and 36ers will clash twice throughout the weekend, with the second game in Joondalup on Sunday.
But Luke Travers, Mitch Norton and Todd Blanchfield have already had several games during the pre-season after representing Australia in August. Rillie has worked as an assistant coach for the Boomers and said those games were beneficial for more than just match fitness.
“Mitch Norton hadn’t played all off-season, so for him to get up and down in a game situation was really good for him because there’s a lot of similarities with the style of play between the Boomers and some of the stuff we’ll do. It was good for him to get reps in that,” Rillie explained.
“Any time you can represent your country, nothing but good can come from that. You talk about Luke Travers – it was the first time he got to play in the green and gold at international senior men’s level. You saw once again his versatility with how he can impact a game.”
Adelaide have recruited well in the off-season, giving the Wildcats an opportunity to test themselves against a powerful team.
It will also be the first opportunity for TaShawn Thomas, Brady Manek and Corey Webster to play for the club.
Rillie’s starting five is far from settled and he will trial different combinations during the pre-season to learn which groups have strong chemistry.
But he said finding players who have an ability to have an immediate impact off the bench will also be a key part of his coaching.
While it appears Travers and Blanchfield are competing for the same spot, Rillie said their differing skillsets meant they could also work together.
“Our versatility within our group will give us the ability to play some different styles, some different line-ups and match ups. They’re such different players within themselves. There’ll be times they are both on the floor together.”
All clubs will travel to Darwin next week for the NBL Blitz where the Wildcats have games against Cairns Taipans, South East Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne United.
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© West Australian Newspapers Limited 2022

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