Southland's back-to-back title chances have received a major boost with the news Alex Pledger will return for a fourth successive season.
The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks are again assembling a quality squad, headlined by Mitch McCarron and now Pledger.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back. Being the defending champions there was no way I wasn’t going to come back to try and defend it and hopefully with the way the team is shaping up, we’ll be able to do it again,” Pledger said.
The league has a new look about it in 2019 with the addition of the Southern Huskies from Tasmania, a fresh challenge that Pledger is looking forward to.
“It’ll be interesting to see how it works having an Australian team in the league but looking at the names they look like they have a solid roster. We’re shaping up well, Wellington are always good and a lot of Australian NBL players who are having really good seasons have signed for various teams around the league so I think the talent level overall is going to be very high, so it will be a decent challenge for us to go back-to-back,” he said.
Head coach Judd Flavell was delighted to have all seven-feet of the man known as Chief at his disposal again this year.
“I’ve won two NBL championships and Chief has been the backbone for both the Auckland Pirates and Southland Sharks’ wins. When I first got the job here in Southland, Alex was the first guy I reached out to and he’s always been the number one guy each season, so we are so excited to have him on board,” Flavell said.
“His role in the team is going to be even more important, off the court from a leadership perspective, and on the court with the way he is playing now and can dominate games.”
The 2019 Sal’s NBL begins on Thursday April 11 with the Sharks opening their title defence on Sunday 14 April against the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams.
Season tickets, including a special 10-year Anniversary VIP pass, are available now from ILT Stadium Southland. For more information visit www.sharksbasketball.co.nz/tickets.