Breakers head coach Paul Henare looks on during his side's round one NBL match against Melbourne United.
Breakers head coach Paul Henare looks on during his side's round one NBL match against Melbourne United. Anthony Au-Yeung

Old foes Perth and NZ to resume rivalry

BASKETBALL: The NBL's two fiercest rivals will renew hostilities tomorrow night.

And NZ Breakers coach Paul Henare can't wait for his side to take on the Perth Wildcats in round-two action at Perth Arena.

The teams last met in the 2015-16 grand final when the Wildcats made it three titles (2010, 2014, 2016) in the past seven years to the Breakers' four (2011-13, 2015).

"This is what we play and coach the game for, to play in a packed arena full of passionate fans who love their basketball - they just happen to love the other team and not us so much,” Henare told nbl.com.au.

Perth is coming off an 84-78 win over Cairns, while NZ goes in after a 76-71 victory over Melbourne United.

While the Wildcats have lost the inside strength of Nathan Jawai (Cairns) and Matt Knight (injured), and the scoring power of Jermaine Beal (Brisbane), Henare says the Breakers will go west with caution.

"They are a little more athletic than they have been in the past. They have possibly lost a touch of that physicality but by bringing in players like Angus Brandt they have one of the most physical centres in the league, so we expect much of the same as usual from Perth,” said Henare, who will have American imports Ben Woodside and Akil Mitchell at his disposal on their first road trip.



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