Count on it: no repeat of scoreboard malfunction

BASKETBALL

WIN Entertainment Centre management has assured Wollongong Hawks fans the venue's troublesome scoreboard system will be fully functional in Saturday's important home game against New Zealand.

Nearly 5000 supporters were left in the lurch during Monday's 80-72 loss to the Melbourne Tigers when the board malfunctioned during the half-time break, meaning the running score and shot clock had to be relayed by the game announcer.

The entire episode delayed the start of the second half by 15 minutes, but centre boss Stuart Barnes said the recurring problem had been fixed.

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"The situation is that we've remedied the problem - that was done at the end of the game - and the company that do all the servicing of our scoreboard assures us that everything will be fine for Saturday.

"It's very frustrating and we apologise for any inconvenience to the fans and to the Hawks. We are taking it very seriously," he said.

Monday's fiasco wasn't the first time the centre's new scoreboard has caused headaches.

In six Wollongong home games, there have been three instances of scoreboard issues between the five-year-old system, which was acquired from the now-defunct Gold Coast Blaze's former home, the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the system it replaced.

In November, Perth coach Rob Beveridge described the infrastructure as "unacceptable" after his side sat through a 20-minute delay moments before tip-off.

Wollongong's much-hyped season-opener against the Sydney Kings was also tarnished by technical problems.

"We're waiting to have a formal meeting with the venue on the matters and we have an expectation that we'll be playing in a venue that is suitable for an NBL game," Hawks general manager Mili Simic said.

The scoreboard fiasco is far from ideal but the situation isn’t being blamed for the Hawks’ recent form slump, which leaves them clinging onto third place with an 8-5 record.

Coach Gordie McLeod said his side had more pressing issues to address ahead of Saturday’s clash with the league-leading Breakers.

‘‘What can you do? It’s frustrating for everyone,’’ McLeod said.

‘‘We have to look at ourselves – that’s what it’s all about.

‘‘You have to stay focused.  The team that stays focused and can execute under those circumstances is going to win.’’

Hawks guard Adris Deleon said the malfunction clouded player judgment at crucial times.

‘‘You can’t offer excuses, but sometimes you’re trying to look at the clock and manage the clock, and when to go [to the basket] and when not to,’’ he said.

‘‘When you haven’t got that shot clock and don’t know when you have to make a move or something, it’s kind of uncomfortable out there. But you have to just go out and play.

‘‘It’s not like it’s happening to one team.’’

Saturday’s match between the Hawks and Breakers will tip off at the WIN Entertainment Centre at 7.30pm.

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