2022/23 NBL season preview – South East Melbourne Phoenix
THE 2022/23 National Basketball League season is less than two weeks from getting underway, and it is shaping up as one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory.
Last year saw the Tassie fairytale, some new stars step to the forefront and Sydney dominance in the big dance. With some big names joining the competition over the past few months, there is a lot to like about how the fixture is looking, as the league continues its rise on the world stage.
With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at how each side is shaping up ahead of the season tip-off, with some new look squads eager to take the next step.
The next side on the list are the SEM Phoenix, who had a terrific start to their year last season, but a drastic drop off in form saw their ranking slide as they eventually fell out of finals contention in disappointing fashion.
South East Melbourne Phoenix
2021/22 record – 15-13
Things were pointing towards a deep finals run for the Phoenix for a large portion of the 2021/22 NBL season, as they stormed to the top of the ladder in the early stages of the fixture. However, the back half of the season was a big let down, and South East Melbourne quickly fell down the standings, unable to put together a winning streak and missed the finals altogether.
The Phoenix won three of their first four games to start the year, and looked a genuine title contender, before a number of COVID-related interruptions bought their momentum to a grinding halt. After losing four on the trot and Ryan Broekhoff‘s campaign over due to a shoulder injury, that was all she wrote for South East Melbourne.
There has been a bit of a reshuffle on the roster side of things, with a number of new faces set to hit the court for the Phoenix this year. After the departure of Xavier Munford and Zhou Qi, the Phoenix recruited a pair of imports to fill these spots.
Former NBA big man Alan Williams will fill the large void left by Zhou, but has proven to be a rebounding machine at the top level. An issue that seems to be recurring in the Blitz preseason is Williams getting into foul trouble, so he may need to change his defending tactics coming into the Phoenix’s first game.
Also joining the team from overseas is point guard Gary Browne, who has already got NBL fans excited with a strong showing in the Blitz competition. With an arsenal of moves in his bag, Browne has the ability to create his own shot or make one for his teammates, and should combine well with the likes of Broekhoff and Mitch Creek.
The Phoenix showed in the first half of last season that they can be a championship side, but they must take the next step in order to keep their winning ways rolling across the course of an entire season.
Mitch Creek, Ryan Broekhoff, Kyle Adnam, Dane Pineau, Reuben Te Rangi, Junior Madut, Gary Browne, Trey Kell, Alan Williams, Grant Anticevich, Anzac Rissetto, Owen Foxwell