Sunday, August 8, 2010

Perfect Start For Wheelcat's Season

The new look Perth Wheelcats look better than ever as head coach Lee Nott has guided the team to a perfect 6-0 start to season 2010. Scoring an average 114 points per game with an average winning margin of 77 points this group of current Wheelcats could be our best yet.

The visiting Dandenong Rangers made the long trip across the Nullarbor last weekend and were greeted with by ferocious Wheelcats team. Fresh back from their respective World Championships campaigns, Shaun Norris begin of the highlighting end of the highlighting, Justin Eveson, Michael Hartnett and Clare Burzynski had their court time carefully managed showcasing the true depth of the Wheelcats squad.

The Saturday night game saw the team jump out to an early 13-0 lead within the first 4 minutes of the game. By quarter time the score was 30-8 and by half time the Wheelcats led the Rangers 55-16 and the damage was well and truly done. The Rangers scored the first points of the second half but without stars Shaun Groenewegan and Dylan Alcott it was all downhill from there for the visitors, the Wheelcats taking the game 100-41 with 11 of the 12 Wheelcats getting onto the scorers sheet. Adam Deans kept the scorers busiest with 25 points to go along with his 10 rebounds while Shaun Norris added 20 points to go along with his 12 assists.

Game 2 on Sunday and the Ranger had come to play. The first quarter was an arm wrestle with the Wheelcats able to sneak away to a 15 point lead at the first break thanks to Shaun Norris’s 11 points quarter with 3 steals and 4 assists. The Wheelcats tightened their defence and by half time it was déjà vu for the visitors, trailing 57-26. The Wheelcats finished the game with 4 players in double figures, Justin Eveson the pick of the bunch with 22 points.

The Wheelcats travel to Sydney next week now for their biggest test in season 2010. The play the dreaded triple header against League fancies the Wollongong Rollerhawks and the much improved Sydney Razorbacks next weekend.

Mark your calendars for Sunday 22nd August where the Wheelcats will hit the court against the Sydney Razorbacks for the last time in season 2010. It will also be the last chance supporters of the Wheelcats will have to join the Supports Club and receive their exclusive 2010 Wheelcats T-shirts. Tip-off is at 11:00am at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thunder Wrap and Rangers Review

The Perth Wheelcats continued their 2010 campaign in Adelaide this weekend against the Adelaide Thunder picking up two convincing wins! The Wheelcats ventured out of the cage without captain Justin Eveson and fellow Roller Michael Hartnett, but Shaun Norris led a very strong group across the border to take on the Thunder at Pasadena and Wayville. Game 1 saw the Wheelcats victorious winning by a margin of 92 (127-35), more impressive than the continuous offensive scoring efforts was the Wheelcats ability to nail it down in defence. This is an aspect that the Cats need to focus on over the next month as they take on some really strong teams that pose great offensive threats, the Wheelcats picked up 12 steals from the game and forced 31 turnovers from the Thunder where the Cats were quick to punish in a very quick transition!

The Perth Wheelcats played an up tempo selfless style of offence that saw them record an impressive 40 assists, Shaun Norris was the stand out in game 1 picking up 35 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Nick Radovich also picked up his first triple double in his NWBL career with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, other great efforts saw Brant Garvey with 21 points and 12 rebounds and Adam Deans and Robert Pike with 26 and 16 points respectively! Kim Robins was instrumental with his defensive intensity and Chris Barty provided the Cats with the presence of being a 3rd big man on the floor. Nang Nguyen and Clare Burzynski must be credited with their efforts at both ends of the floor not only helping get our tall timber in the paint but also playing above their class and helping to defend the Thunder’s high point players!

The Wheelcats backed up their impressive performance from Saturday night by delivering a 107 point win at Wayville on Sunday morning, the 129-22 score line proves to many teams out there that the Wheelcats can travel well and be successful in multiple games away from home. The defensive display shown by the Wheelcats was even more impressive than the previous night keeping the opposition to just 5 points in the 1st half, the 3rd quarter saw the Thunder put on 12 points before the Cats sunk their claws in and kept them to 2 points in the 4th. Head Coach Lee Nott knows that in the future the Wheelcats have to be ready to play 48 minutes of intense defence to keep the opposition under control. Offensively the Wheelcats managed to keep an even flow of scoring throughout the game which saw everyone get a decent amount of minutes. No one picked up a triple double this game, the rebounding and assist effort was evenly spread amongst the Wheelcats. Shaun Norris picked up a healthy 40 points and 1 rebound and 1 assist shy of another triple double, Adam Deans, Robert Pike and Nick Radovich picked up 20, 18 and 15 respectively. Kim Robins pushed the ball well in transition and setting up some great offence with 14 points and 7 assists, however down the other end of the floor Robins was impressive once again with his defensive intensity and talk when coupled with Adam Deans or Clare Burzynski.

The Perth Wheelcats successfully completed their defensive target keeping Adelaide to 57 points for the entire weekend, as well as achieving what they wanted to get done in offence. Big man Adam Deans shot at 77% for the weekend proving he is a force to be reckoned with inside the paint, Shaun Norris picked up 75 points over the weekend shooting the ball at an impressive 72%!

After a successful start to the NWBL season against the Kings and Thunder the Perth Wheelcats are looking to continue this success against the Dandenong Rangers this weekend! Both teams currently sit on a 4 win 0 loss record and are vying for a top spot in the top 4. The Perth Wheelcats will have Justin Eveson and Michael Hartnett rejoined to the group this weekend in what will be the strongest line up we have put up this year! Michael Hartnett comes back to Perth fresh from the end of his season in Italy and I’m sure is keen to have an impact and get amongst the action in front of an always impressive home crowd!

Hartnett, along with Justin Eveson and Shaun Norris recently come back from the World Championships in Birmingham where they were a massive part of the Rollers successful campaign where they picked up the gold against France in the final. Clare Burzynski also returns from the World Champs back to the Perth Wheelcats where she will provide vital low point support as well as give us the opportunity to run our higher point combinations. Norris and Burzynski have already put the Wheelcats jersey on since World’s both playing against Adelaide in our recent success.

Over the past few weeks the Wheelcats have been putting in the work on the court by training the house down. Kim Robins, Robert Pike, Brant Garvey and Adam Deans will be looking to show off their hard work in front of a home crowd by pushing the Rangers to the limit as we look to extend our record to 6 wins 0 losses. We have been saying to each other over the past months that it doesn’t matter about our side of the score board, we know with the many offensive threats that we are going to keep the score board ticking no matter what the opposition throws at us. Be prepared to see an excellent and impressive defensive display by the Perth Wheelcats this weekend where we will be looking to keep the Rangers to a defensive target. The Perth Wheelcats run 12 deep during all games and we will be looking to keep up constant pressure by rotating fresh arms onto the floor this weekend.

Each week the new look Perth Wheelcats are building more and more from our solid foundations and are looking to destroy the target we set ourselves on and off the court. After this weekend the season will be half over and with the Rollerhawks, Spinning Bullets and Razorbacks still to face we will be looking to send shock waves to the East coast to let them know we are coming over. The finals are something that the Wheelcats are looking forward too but we know that to get there we have to focus on the week to week tasks that we have to complete to get there.

Hope to see you at the game this weekend!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Big Month of July!!

Well, every 2 years the NWBL breaks for the month of July while either the Paralympic Games or in this case World Champs occur! This is a tough time for some NWBL teams as they lose their best players and sometimes the work ethic and attitude withers away during this time. I can also imagine that many teams do not even train during this time, but not the Perth Wheelcats. We hit the court harder than ever during this period to make sure when the business end of the season begins we are ready to take care of it! Sure, there is no doubt that the tempo at training has a higher likelyhood of going down but with the experience and knowledge of some of the players not attending thw World Champs we can navigate easier through the hard times! We know what this is like, the Perth Wheelcats have had this challenge contnuously throughout at least the past 6 years. We also know what lays ahead on the other side of this break and how easy it can be taken away from us if we don't train hard!

Western Australia is represented 6 players attending this years World Champs, 5 of which are apart of the Perth Wheelcats 2010 playing squad! Justin Eveson, Shaun Norris, Mike Hartnett and Brad Ness will be suiting up for the Rollers and Clare Burzynski and Amber Merritt for the Gliders! All with the exception of Ness will join the Wheelcats in late July to help the team prepare for the final charge towards the 2010 NWBL Championships!

July 24th and 25th see the Wheelcats take on Adelaide away from home before they return and play Dandenong Rangers the next weekend at home! Two great weekends which gives us plenty of opportunity to ease back in to the season and get our finals campain underway. The weekend after will see the Wheelcats undertake the biggest challenge thus far in 2010, a triple header away. Two games of which we play against the very strong Wollongong Rollerhawks at their home ground Shell Harbour Stadium! These 2 games will be by far the most challenging aside from the finals for this year, we will be taking our strongest side possible to go up against the likes of Knowles, Stibners and Rouillard! After we return home we have a week off before taking on the young and very tenacious West Sydney Razorbacks in a stand alone game on Sunday 22nd of August at our home "The Cage". 28th and 29th of August will see us fly out to Brisbane to wrap up the regular season against the Spinning Bullets!

After that it is full steam ahead on the training court for about 3 weeks before we head back over to Shell Harbour for the NWBL Finals! 10 games in the matter of 5 weeks for the rest of the NWBL season, it is amazing what these committed athletes can do!

As for the World Champs about to get underway in Birmingham, England, good luck to all Australians taking part in the games. It will be a tough challenge, the Rollers have Turkey and Canada in their pool. I have no doubt the Rollers will take care of business and finish top, on the otherside of the pool will be power houses Great Britain and the US! My tips for the semi finals will be Rollers v US and Canada v GB! For the final Rollers v GB! Finally, Rollers by at least 20 to bring home the gold!

As for the girls they have a tough challenge ahead, they have Canada and the Netherlands in their pool, both of which are teams the Gliders have lost to this year but are both teams that the Gliders are capable of winning against if the girls play well! I have no doubt that the Gliders will pull it together and finish within the top 2 of their pool, in the other pool Germany and the US will be waiting. The US are seeded number 1 and that is where I think they will finish in their pool! The Gliders will have to do the hard work early as I know they will want to finish as high as they can in their pool and take on Germany in a semi final! Germany is definitley a team the Gliders can beat, but it will be up to them to take care of business!

I will be watching all the stats live and cheering for Australia from all the way back home.

Til next time,


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Always Check Your Shoulders

Today is a historic day in Australian history, Julia Gillard is now the first female Australian Prime Minister! This is undoubtedly a game lost by Kevin Rudd rather that an out right win by Julia Gillard. Let this be a lesson to everyone that no matter what you feel you must do in your position you have been put there for the good of the people, not for your own glory and success! It doesn't matter what position you are in, Prime Minister, CEO, Head Coach or Leading hand on a construction site, you are put there because people believe you have what it takes to lead a country, a business, a team or a construction site!

I also believe you must be a likable person but must stand firm on as a leader and not focus on individuals, especially yourself! If you find yourself on the outer rim and asking yourself, "What have I done wrong?", take a hard look in the mirror because the answer is usually staring back at you! Always respect all your colleague's, they are not trying to back stab you to take your position but might be trying to steer you in a better direction because they feel you are veering the wrong way, if you don't respect or communicate with them they may feel the need to challenge you! But you had the chance, don't be arrogant, take all the advice you can. It is better to take advice and sift through it rather than take none at all!

In wheelchair basketball we talk about checking your shoulders in defence so you can keep an eye on where the offence are positioned and most importantly so they can't get past you and get to the basket! We are one of the hardest pushing teams if not the hardest in the NWBL, we know that, but we always keep an eye on what is coming thus respecting what they are capable of doing. Individually, point for point and pound for pound we are great, but we still practice to improve our skills, always knowing that if we don't we could get knocked from the top! As a team we are striving to get stronger knowing that if we don't we could get knocked from the top and as champions we are always pushing harder, smarter and stronger with everything and giving every piece of our blood, sweat and tears knowing that if we don't we could get knocked from the top!

As a coach I use all the very limited resources I have to make sure I am fulfilling my role, elected to steer the team in a greater direction. I use all the knowledge and experience of the senior players to make sure we have all bases covered, I would be mad not to listen to the people around me that have greater experience! I take their advice, sift through what I'm given and use what I think is useful!

There are many leaders in all facets of our community, they are all put there by someone who believes they will do a great job in being a leader, whether it is leading a nation, business, team or work place! If you are too focused on your own individual success you will fall hard and like Kevin Rudd this morning you will make a great exit speech, the door will be shut behind you and a new leader will be elected and the faith of the people will be shifted to the new leader! A team, a wheelchair basketball team is no different to Australia, the PM is the Coach, the Deputies are the Assistants and the people are the players!

No matter who you are or how well you think you are doing, their will always be a Julia Gillard by your side. Listen to her and always, "Always Check Your Shoulders"!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

NWBL 2010 - Perth Wheelcats v Wentworthville Wheelkings

The beginning of the Perth Wheelcats 2010 season got off to great success defeating last year's grand finalists the Wentworthville Wheelkings 122-24! In front of over 300 fans the reigning NWBL champs got off to a great start putting up 34 points for the first quarter! Big men Justin Eveson, Shaun Norris and Adam Deans kept the score board ticking through out the first half coupled with some impressive defence as they tore apart the young opposition! Michael Hartnett was unavailable for the 2 bouts over the weekend leaving Clare Burzynski and Nang Nguyen the responsibility of getting our tall timber in the paint! The low point players did a fantastic job working with the highs and mids which saw the Perth Wheelcats score 94 of their 122 inside the keyway!

Halftime score 64-17 after the Wheelcats rotated all players re-energized for a very defensive orientated 3rd quarter! Keeping the Wheelkings to 1 point in the 3rd while stacking on another 28 points! Impressive performances from Brant Garvey with 19 points in 11 minutes of total game time play, such a skillful player hits the floor plays well and shows what he can do is exactly what the Wheelcats need coming off the bench!

Full time score was 122-24, Justin Eveson (20,14,15) finished up with an easy triple double while Shaun Norris (25,7,11) and Adam Deans (22,17,2) proved dominance with some great figures!

Game 2 saw the Wheelkings step up and play some decent basketball, although going down 107-51 they put up a good fight making the Wheelcats earn their money!Once again for the Wheelcats the usual suspects got the score board ticking, Garvey again with 21 in 21 minutes played a great part off the bench, Eveson picked up 25 and big man Adam Deans with 19! The Cats kept the Kings to 10 point quarters in the first 3, but in the 4th the Kings stepped up while the Cats struggled to contain them defensively!

Overall a great start to the year, it won't be as easy as previous years with other clubs recruiting international talent but as always it is going to be really tough to knock this experienced team from the top!

The Wheelcats next take on Adelaide away before they return home to take on the Dandenong Rangers! Come down to the CAGE and be part of all the excitement as the Wheelcats hunt down their 5th consecutive NWBL title!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Great Half Century Knock!!

Today I thought it was appropriate to begin my blog where I left off, sadly I have not written one since my father passed in the middle of 2009. Today, the 16th of January would have marked dad's 51st birthday. In this blog I will cover a few things about my father Carl and his life.

You all know that Carl battled with Multiple Sclerosis for the last five years and it is healthy that we acknowledge this part of his life today. Though this isn’t the part of Carl’s life we are going to dwell on, I would like to begin by sharing with you the words of the motto that has been adopted by the MS Society – “Never give up trying”.

Those four powerful little words go a long way to capturing Carl’s philosophy about life as does the mantra he lived by – “always play the hand you’ve been dealt”.

Carl wasn’t the type of man who would ever think of shying away from trouble in life. Rather, he would look at it head on and find a positive to work at in the belief there would be a good result, or at least an interesting journey.

Just like the well-known and loved Monty Python Flying Circus song we are all familiar with -“Always Look on the Bright side of Life”, Carl’s great and sometimes “wicked sense of humour” helped fuel his positive attitude, it also helped those around him feel ok.

To have this approach to life is a gift, a gift that is shared and multiplies.

Carl was a smart man because he had identified the important things in life – family, friends, health and happiness. It didn’t matter to him how much he owned, the cars, the house the cash – what mattered was the people in his life and their happiness.

Carl would know the pain that his family and friends are feeling at the moment, but he would not want you to dwell on these thoughts, rather he would want you to look back over his life and remember the good times, the fun times and the warm memories.

Carl was the first child born to Rita and Derek Nott in Forrest Gate, London on the 16th January, 1959. As it came to light later, Carl found out that his friend Vic Rogers was also born in the same hospital – but a different year.

Early life for Carl was lived in the family home in London and shared with a younger brother Mark.

Carl, like most young English lads loved rugby, a game that he enjoyed playing at school and a passion that would travel with him throughout life, either on the field or as a supporter.

Carl was twelve when the family moved to Brentwood in Essex. Four years later after completing his education, Carl left school and began his apprenticeship as a toolmaker. Carl thoroughly enjoyed his youthful years with his mates, playing rugby, drinking beer and eating curry. His involvement with rugby even saw him travel abroad on a couple of tours. One trip in particular stood out and that was the time he went to France, because Carl’s love of food meant he was able to enjoy the wonderful food on offer during the trip.

Romance would enter Carl’s life when he met a fellow workmate Jane during the time that they both worked at Plessey, a company that refurbished torpedo’s. Jane remembers their eyes meeting over the filing cabinet and how taken she was with Carl’s long eyelashes!

That particular evening they were both working back late and Carl offered to escort Jane home – even though he lived in the opposite direction. He then plucked up the courage that evening to ask Jane out on a date. A friendship and love blossomed between Carl and Jane and being the romantic that he was, Carl proposed one night to Jane down on his knees outside the toilet door. Needless to say Jane accepted and they married in 1985 in Barking and settled into married life in Corringham in Essex.

In 1986 Carl and Jane became very proud parents when their daughter Amanda was born and just as proud the following year when I came into the world.

Life was busy for Carl and Jane as new parents and foremost in their minds was the desire to give their children the best chance they could in life. To achieve this, Carl and Jane decided to migrate to Australia after watching a documentary about the prosperous land down under and they set about collecting all the points needed to apply for migration at Australia House. Carl would often remark with tongue in cheek that “it was his points” that got the family to Australia!

Having sold their house, packed their belongings and said goodbye to family and friends, Carl, Jane and the children boarded a plane for Australia. When they finally arrived in Perth, they jumped into a taxi and asked the driver to take them somewhere – that somewhere was East Perth.

Jane remembers turning on the television to be greeted by a man talking to a large pink fluffy ostrich – of course they found out later that this was the well loved “Hey, Hey It’s Saturday” show hosted by Darryl Summers and the pink ostrich was Ozzie. Their first thoughts were “oh, what sort of place have we come too!”

Carl quickly found some temp Agency work then settled into a full-time position as a maintenance fitter at Westfi in Welshpool and a fully furnished home was found in Cannington. To make them feel really at home, Carl and Jane welcomed their first Aussie baby Tom into the world in the July of 1992, by now they had settled into their own home in Bullcreek.

Carl and Jane had agreed before they left England that they would give Australia their best for two years and then decide if they wanted to go home. Needless to say they never looked back.

Carl loved it here with the warm climate, the sport and the opportunities for his family. They even completed their family with a second Aussie baby Jon in 1996. Life was good, they had a great house close to the river that Carl loved, with a swimming pool that he enjoyed immensely. All the family was involved in sport, especially basketball and Carl was always there to watch and encourage.

But life changed for the family five years ago when Carl was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This was devastating news and one would have expected Carl to drop his bundle. But he had always looked on the positive side of life – that his glass was always half full, not half empty. It was this positive approach, the love of his family and friends that kept him buoyant as he had to learn to adjust to a different life.

This wasn’t only a difficult time for Carl, it was also very difficult for his family having to come to terms with this cruel condition that was robbing their husband and dad and them of precious years.

Over time Carl’s physical body began to deteriorate, but nothing could take away his active and intelligent mind. Every opportunity that he was able, he went along to watch his children play sport. He began to read in earnest and he loved watching the Grand Prix, in fact anything to do with sport on T.V.

He also became involved in the Multiple Sclerosis Society and he attended a course to be a Peer Support leader for people who had recently been diagnosed with MS. Being involved allowed Carl to share his skills and knowledge in the hope of helping others traveling the same journey.

Carl had only turned fifty on the 16th of January this year and his exit from the world on the 10th June leaves behind a family in deep sadness. It will only be time, memories and support from family and friends that will help to ease the pain they are feeling.

I have only touched briefly on Carl’s life, I could never hope to do him justice in this short blog. But we can continue his journey by way of family and friendship tributes.

"A noise in the night bothered me as I slept on a cold June night, the very real noise was incorporated in my dreams for a few brief moments before I realised that the horror screams of "LEE, LEE" were very real. I rushed from the back end of the house to the front where my parent's bedroom was.

When I enter the room Tom and Jon are in a crying wreck, panicking what to do next, the poor souls. Mum is in the bathroom putting in her contact lenses, she is blind without them. I quickly kneel over Dad, yelling his name "DAD, DAD". No response, all that I hear is air escaping his mouth. No pulse, no signs of breathing, I yell at Tom "Call an ambulance and get Jon out of the room". To this date I am not sure if sending Jon out the room was the correct decision, he was by himself outside the room, what must he have been going through? But if he had of stayed how would he be today, if he had of seen what I did?

Tom on the phone, "I need an ambulance... My dad, he isn't breathing... I don't no what to do... Send an ambulance... Please be quick!!'"

Meanwhile, Mum and I are performing CPR. Mum was calm while I was crying, "It'll be ok, come on Dad". We couldn't get his jaw open, it was stuck like jaw lock. We pulled and eventually got it open, Mum began the mouth to mouth while I began with the compressions. Roughly every 30 seconds Dad gasped for air, I knew that wasn't enough, we continued the CPR.

10 minutes had past, I said to Tom "Get out side and open the door, wave down the ambulance." At this stage sadly Dad hadn't gasped for air anymore, his pupils dilated and looked lifeless. Mum began to cry "Lee, no Carl please" , I was suddenly calm. What I experienced at this stage robbed me of emotion. Later I recognised this very moment to be the end.

The ambulance burst in the room, they moved Dad onto the floor and asked me to continue compressions. They got the defibrillator on Dad, "CLEAR". Dad jerked... nothing. Again, "CLEAR". A second ambulance arrived to help. Soon Dad was on the trolley and in the back of the ambulance, they didn't allow Mum in the back of the ambulance with Dad, Mum and Tom went in the second ambulance while I called Amanda and organised to pick her up immediately.

Picking Amanda and Bruno, they had literally got out of bed and into my car. Amanda was crying and asking what has happened? I drove very fast to Fremantle Hospital, dropped Amanda, Bruno and Jon off at the entrance. I parked the car and rushed to the entrance, as I go in Tom came out screaming "No, please no". I knew what that meant, as I followed the crying down the hall way I entered a room where Mum was in tears and Amanda was on the floor crying. I had seen them cry before but this sight haunts me to this day, two of the strongest women I know in their most fragile state."

Carl was pronounced dead, June 10th 2009, 50 years old.

Today I looked amongst the other memorials around the cemetery near Dad, where other men laid. Other memorials said "Died 82 years old" or "Born 1927". What I wouldn't give for Dad to have lasted that long, I wished it was me rather than him. He served a greater purpose, Father of 4, Loving Husband, Great Friend.

I remember toasting at his 50th birthday party that he had played a fantastic 50 years, and rather this a celebration of the first 50 years but to his next 50. Sadly 6 months later Dad died, aged 50.

He always did, and as I will for the rest of my life "Play the cards that I'm dealt".