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NBL1 2022 - season preview - men

Written by Eric McAlister. Photos by JDR Creative


With the 2022 NBL1 North season just around the corner, the Rip City men’s side are geared up and ready for what looks to be a promising campaign. After a successful year last season, the men fought their way to the clubs first ever semi-final berth, falling short to eventual champion Mackay Meteor’s in Mackay.

The men’s side have set the expectation for a return to the semi-finals and look to break another barrier for the club and earn a spot in the grand final this season.


With coach Nathan Arousi securing the return of the core group of Isaiah Tueta, Josh Tueta, Louis Ilton and Eric McAlister, alongside the core group of juniors, the programs foundation continues to build on the success it has already found over many seasons.


With all that is old, there must be new, though. The departures of Tanner Krebs and Kyle Zunic, both playing large roles for the squad last season, have opened the door to some new faces.



Verle Williams and Joe Chilcott have both signed on for the 2022 season and are looking to make a big impact. Most importantly, both will add much needed depth this season, giving coach Arousi more weapons throughout the season. Along with Chilcott and Williams,


Rip City have also secured the services of Kouat Noi and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk. Noi (Cairns Taipans) and Swaka Lo Buluk (Sydney Kings) will add significant fire power, versatility and experience to the squad when their NBL duties have finished. Let’s have a quick look at three key points to the men’s team for this season.


1. Versatility


The best word to describe the roster put together by Coach Arousi is versatility. The makeup of the roster is loaded with players who can do multiple things on both sides of the ball, making it difficult for opposing teams to prepare for.


Offensively, captain Isaiah Tueta will look to continue to run the show at the point guard position. Verle Williams will bring a change of pace to the point guard position as one of the quickest and most explosive guards in the competition.


Look to potentially see some minutes from junior guard, Cooper Sparksman as well. With a plethora of bigger wings and interchangeable positions, Noi, Swaka Lo Buluk, Chilcott and Ilton will be matchup nightmares for the opposition, as each have good size, versatile skill sets and high motors to put the pressure on.


Alongside the former four, Tom and Riley Cordwell, Ronnie Twidale, Khobie De Haan and others will look to make their impact throughout the season. Inside, Josh Tueta and Eric McAlister will look to make their impact in a variety of ways.


Lacking the traditional sense of a center, both Tueta and McAlister will look to stretch the floor as well as operating in the post while providing a rebounding presence. Toby Campbell and Seb Morris will also look to see minutes in the front court throughout the season. Defensively, the team looks to be even more versatile, enabling them to play multiple defences throughout the year. With the size and length of wings, the toughness at the guard positions and the mobility of the bigs, the defence will look to be intense and formidable.


2. Exciting Style of Play


The men will look to play an entertaining style that should lead to wins, as well. Verle Williams is a high-octane athlete that causes absolute chaos for opposing teams.


Fan favourite Louis Ilton is another one who can be a one man wrecking crew on his own, leading the the frustration of opposing teams. With the additions of both Noi and Swaka Lo Buluk, the scoring and defensive abilities they possess in the NBL should translate well to the NBL1, forcing spectators out of their seats with their high flying athleticism and displays of skill.


The sharpshooting of both Tueta’s, McAlister, Chilcott and company, looks to result in a lot of three pointers, as well.


Fast pace, intense and full of action should be on full display this year for the Rip City men.


3. The Culture Continues


One thing can go without being questioned, Nathan Arousi has constructed a winning program that is full of culture since the club joined the QBL back in 2016. Arousi has built his roster with as little turnover as any club in the competition.


This, in turn, has allowed the men’s program to find the right formula for winning and continued to build upon it each year. For every great roster, there must be a great coaching staff.


With a consistent showing from Ben McGlynn and the additions last year of Jay McCracken and Ross Charnock, Arousi has built a strong foundation that has helped lead this program as it continues to achieve each season.


Expect this year to be no different. With an exciting year ahead, be sure to come support your 2022 Rip City Men’s program.


USC’s NBL1 season starts 30th April with the first six rounds on the road due to Suncorp Super Netball but Rip City’s run home will be mostly at home. Rip City are looking forward to the first home game on the 11th June vs Southern District Spartans. The finals will be played in August-September after a 15-round regular season.


For season tickets go to this link


For sponsorship and partnership opportunities, email office@uscbasketball.com.au

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