Disruption worth it in Miners’ play-off prep | From the Press Box with Melanie Whelan

EMERGING STAR: Miner Craig Moller demanded attention in action for Melbourne United in an exciting friendly against a touring Chinese national team this week. Picture: Getty Images
EMERGING STAR: Miner Craig Moller demanded attention in action for Melbourne United in an exciting friendly against a touring Chinese national team this week. Picture: Getty Images

AN  EYE-catching explosion in overtime is how one metropolitan reporter described Craig Moller’s athletic performance against a touring Chinese national team early this week.

Ballarat Miners teammate Sam Short played a solid role off the bench in both guard positions.

It may be tough for the Miners to have them in and out of action in the South East Australian Basketball League, but the development rewards are invaluable.

Suiting up for National Basketball League club Melbourne United, this match not only pushed both their games, but offered them more exposure to what was a roaring, predominantly Chinese, basketball-mad crowd.

Moller, who is on United’s roster, and Short, a development player, are managing workloads between both clubs.

Competing interests get tougher at this time of year – the Miners are atop SEABL’s south conference and building to play-offs, while United is stepping up its pre-season exposure.

Similarly, Miners captain Peter Hooley is vying for an NBL spot and will be missing from action this weekend while playing away with the Sydney Kings in China. Rush captain Joy Burke is in a national team training camp with Chinese Taipei ahead of the FIBA Asia Women’s Cup.

But we have to let the go.

Basketball is one of the top examples in Ballarat’s top sporting ranks in the give needed to grow pathways. 

Disruptive as it may seem, players are taking their games to the highest levels possible with exposure to some of the game’s best on the court and in preparation.

What they learn, they bring back to Ballarat.

Short, speaking with SEABL reporter Roy Ward this week, said the opportunity to work with coach Dean Vickerman and his staff was “amazing”. Plus, he had the chance to learn and absorb from from NBL guards like Kyle Adnam and Boomer Chris Goulding.

“Kyle and Chris have been phenomenal too, they are so professional in getting shots up before and after training as well as what they do at practice,” Short said.

“It has taught me that no matter how high you have gone in the world of basketball there is always work to do and to go up against those guys in training is a great opportunity.”

Touted as a future United point guard, Short is clear in knowing the benchmark – and how much he needs to improve to reach NBL standard.

Short is experiencing first-hand all the extra things players like Goulding do in preparation, the one per centers few get to see. He has a chance to set a similar tone in his routine with the Miners.

The Minerdome has a long-held tradition of rostered SEABL players missing matches to test their game on higher levels.

This emphasises the need for depth and added preparation within the Miners and Rush rosters to cover this by adjusting game plans and calling on other players to step up in key roles amid a domino effect.

Moller and Short return in stellar form to the Miners this week and fans can see for themselves how worthwhile this juggle has been.

EXPOSURE: Miner Sam Short can learn and absorb all the one per centers from players like Chris Goulding while training with Melbourne United. Picture: Dylan Burns

EXPOSURE: Miner Sam Short can learn and absorb all the one per centers from players like Chris Goulding while training with Melbourne United. Picture: Dylan Burns