CRAIG Moller will make an unexpected return for the Ballarat Miners’ east conference top-of-the-table clash with arch-rival Bendigo Braves in the South East Australian Basketball League in Bendigo on Saturday night.
He steps in to cover the loss of Dyson King-Hawea with an ankle injury.
This will be Moller’s second stint with the GMHBA Miners in stand-in role.
Moller, who plays with Sutherland Sharks in the NSW Waratah league, spent five weeks in Ballarat from late April.
He was initially recruited to replace injured centre Chris Smith and stayed on until recruit and pre-season signing James Hunter arrived from Europe.
Basketball Ballarat elite teams administrator Melissa Thomas said the Miners had been interested in retaining Moller for the remainder of the season even after the arrival of Hunter.
She said head coach Eric Hayes was conscious of team balance and available minutes though, and decided not extend Moller’s stay.
Thomas said with King-Hawea out for a month, the Miners had had no hesitation “pulling the trigger” to have Moller back on the roster.
Hayes said with King-Hawea going down it left the Miners a man short.
“It’s great that we have been able to fill that spot so quickly, and especially with someone that knows our structure and fits in with our culture
“It’s great to get Craig back on board. He’s a great guy for our team and a super talent,” he said.
Moller is rapt to again be in Miners colours – especially with such a big game to start with.
“I’m glad to be back. Although Ballarat is cold, it’s nice to be back around the boys and work towards winning the SEABL championship with a great bunch of players.”
Craig arrived in Ballarat on Thursday and joined a training session just hours later.
The Ballarat and Bendigo battle is massive for each team.
The Braves head the east conference ladder on 11 wins and three losses, and are chasing five wins on end. The Miners are second on seven wins and five losses, with five wins in their latest six games.