Its been a “weird couple of days” for Perth Wildcats’ Rhys Vague just a day after learning they won the title despite the finals series being extraordinarily cut short.

The NBL cancelled the best-of-five series on Tuesday, with Perth leading 2-1 ahead of Friday’s fourth game in WA.

That decision came because the Kings, citing the threat of coronavirus, refused to play on while Perth maintained they were ready and willing to continue.

Both teams originally agreeing last week to continue with a five-game series before the Kings had a change of heart.

The series halt meant Perth’s win in an empty Sydney stadium on Sunday decided the series, eventually assuring the defending champions their 10th title.


Fred asked Vague why the decision took so long, despite the Wildcats’ 2-1 lead.

“The NBL just had to make sure they made the right decision… as it’s never really happened before,” he told The Bunch.

Lisa was far stauncher.

“I mean, it’s a no-brainer, you won,” she deadpanned.

‘Rules Were Rules’

On Thursday, NBL owner Larry Kestelman said there would always been an asterisk on the season, but that “rules were rules.”


He said the Sydney Kings had received the news with disappointment and grace, Kings owner Paul Smith tweeting his congratulations to the Wildcats after the decision was made public.

“As a human being I feel for players … but the fact of the matter is we’re in extraordinary circumstances and … we were only left with one decision to make,” Kestelman said.

“There’s always going to be an asterisk next to this season, for all sorts of reasons … we’re all going to remember this one.”

Buuuut Not Everyone Is Happy…

Star centre Andrew Bogut was less complimentary of the process, labelling the NBL’s handling of the entire grand final series embarrassing and disappointing.


Bogut tweeted his congratulations to the Wildcats on Thursday, but added a note slamming the NBL.

“I could not be any prouder of the Sydney Kings and our playing group,” he wrote.

“After almost three hours of back and forth (and plenty of tears) we came to what ultimately was the hardest decision any athlete or team could make (to not continue playing).


“I am beyond embarrassed and disappointed in regards to how this was handled by our league from the week leading up to the grand final series.

“This has nothing to do with the result announced today and I wish to congratulate the Perth Wildcats on being crowned champions.”

Bogut says there was no contingency plans or scenarios planned out by the league, and that players were treated as “an afterthought”.

The Boomers star revealed Kings players broke down in tears during a three-hour meeting, and says a number of players are struggling mentally with the situation.

Bogut also backed Paul Smith after the Kings owner claimed both NBL owner Larry Kestelman and the Wildcats reneged on an agreement that neither club was to have the championship without completing the five-game series.

“I wasn’t involved, but I trust Paul Smith and Chris Pongrass. I’ve no reason to believe they lied.”


Discussing the social responsibilities of athletes, Bogut says that as it stands, he would not compete in the Tokyo Olympics with the Boomers.

Celebrations About To Kick Off 

As for the celebrations, well, as of Friday morning they hadn’t kicked off… yet.

“No, not yet we’re starting to do it… today,” Vague told The Bunch.

“We’re gonna have a good time today and hopefully carry it over the next couple days, then it’s back to business.”

Perth import Bryce Cotton was awarded the Larry Sengstock Medal as finals MVP.


with AAP

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