NBL1 East Players of the Week – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the 2024 NBL1 East season saw a massive 26 games take place over the course of Saturday and Sunday, and there were some thrilling encounters and telling team performances as each team hit the court at least once.

The newest NBL1 competition has plenty of established and emerging talent, and there was a surplus of eye-catching outings from several players, showcasing how well the teams have recruited in the past 12 months.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the standout performances from both divisions, after some big numbers were posted over the weekend. This time, William Hickey and Nicole Munger proved to be extremely important to their side’s performances over the span of Round 6.

William Hickey (Albury-Wodonga Bandits) vs. Penrith Panthers

31 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block

Hickey has been putting together an MVP-calibre season throughout the 2024 fixture, and delivered a performance that lived up to that hype in the win over the Panthers at Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Penrith gave the Bandits quite a scare for much of the contest, mainly in the second quarter, where it completely outscored the visitors and jumped out to a three-point lead at the main change. Proceedings were tied at the final break, before the Bandits hit their straps in the fourth with a 30-15 period to snag a 109-94 win.

Hickey was an immense presence for the Bandits, producing his second outstanding performance of the weekend after posting a triple-double of 14 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists, delivering one of the most damaging rounds from a player this season.

Against the Panthers, he was the game’s leading scorer with 31 points on an efficient 9/13 shooting from the field. He was also aggressive on the drive, drawing plenty of contact and making the opposition pay by going 11/14 from the free throw line.

Although he is not one of the tallest players on his side, Hickey is a marvellous rebounder and pulled down 10 boards the match, which is ideal for the Bandits as they want the ball in his hands in transition anyway.

Hickey has also been a clever playmaker as well, and consistently combines well with his teammates to ensure Albury-Wodonga takes the best possible shot. He finished with a game-high seven assists in a creative display of passing.

It was yet another standout performance from Hickey, who has emerged as one of the stars of the NBL1 throughout the first six rounds of play.

Nicole Munger (Newcastle Falcons) vs. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

32 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal

Another big name in the NBL1 East delivered on the weekend, with Munger almost dragging her side across the line as the Falcons fell to the Sea Eagles at Newcastle Basketball Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Although Newcastle looked in the box seat heading into the fourth quarter, Manly Warringah stormed home with a defining performance in the fourth quarter. The visitors outscored the Falcons 31-18 to take the lead and sneak home to a five-point victory on the road in an impressive display.

Despite the final result, the Newcastle star was an immense presence on the match, and almost delivered a game-winning performance and was the biggest individual presence.

She had a game-high 32 points, nearly accounting for half of her team’s 73 points, and looking the most likely to rip the game open.

From the field, Munger shot 13/27 and was given the license to shoot on the offensive end, given her expertise at conjuring offence. It was a tall task for the defence when it came to shutting her down, especially with the Falcons looking to get the ball in her hands at whatever cost.

She got extremely close to a double-double as well, pulling down nine rebounds, all of which came on the defensive end to help start another possession for the Falcons. Unfortunately, she fouled out in the dying seconds of the match, but the result was already sealed by that stage.

Although the final result of the match was disappointing, the performance of Munger was almost enough to get Newcastle a win, and was the best of any player on the court.

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