Breakers boss Matt Walsh will appeal the ban and fine he copped for a verbal altercation with the NBL commissioner as he hoped the “NZ versus Australia” feeling would galvanise the team.
The heated exchange with commissioner Jeremy Loeliger after the Breakers’ loss to South East Melbourne Phoenix on Saturday cost Walsh $5000 and a two-game ban
Walsh told 1 NEWS he was upset because of the early ejection of star import guard RJ Hampton.
“I wasn’t pleased with the RJ rejection - it wasn’t so much the RJ ejection but that RJ was the only one ejected and that somehow you review that video,” Walsh said
“I was right behind the bench so I was able to witness, I saw their coach come on and push our player. I was just probably not in the politest manner asking, 'How it’s possible that this happens?'
“It was probably inappropriate for me to approach Jeremy at that time because we were both emotional.”
Walsh said the fine was excessive compared with those given out by the NBL for similar offences.
“I am going to appeal,” he said. “If you look at precedent for the league, it’s out of line. But there’s an appeal process - we’ll see how that goes.
“If you look at the video, it’s pretty hard to come up with $5k and two games.”
The Breakers owner doesn't think there is an NBL agenda against the sole Kiwi team in the competition but admitted it didn’t always feel like that.
“I will say there is a feeling that it’s us versus them, in terms of New Zealand versus Australia. I’m hoping that that’s something that can galvanise the group,” he said.
“Sometimes it might feel like that but I’m pretty confident there’s nothing lying under the surface there.”
The Breakers owner shrugged off concerns around the team’s poor form early in the season, with the highly-touted side currently seventh in the nine-team league with a 2-6 record.
Walsh said injuries had hampered the team early in the season and there was so much talent in the roster that wins would come when the roster was healthier.