Hawks star could welcome Australia Day baby

BASKETBALL

They were born in the US but Wollongong Hawks forward Dave Gruber and wife Kara could be the proud parents of an Australia Day baby.

After gaining Australian citizenship together almost two years ago, the Grubers are due to have their first child on Tuesday.

But there is always a chance Gruber junior will make his or her arrival a day or two early.

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"It is pretty exciting, the possibility of the baby coming on Aussie Day," Gruber said.

"The big question is what the accent will be like in a couple of years. We obviously have the American accent, which the baby will hear a lot around home. And when they get older and get out more, they'll get that Aussie twang.

"I can just hear them, throwing the Aussie slang at me, and I'll be shaking my head. It'll be just like it is at training with the boys, I'm sure."

Though his wife and the imminent arrival of their first-born is uppermost in Gruber's mind, he also has Wollongong's Australia Day home clash with New Zealand to think about.

The fourth-placed Hawks (8-9) have lost six straight and are desperate to reinvigorate their flagging title prospects with a confidence-boosting win over the two-time reigning champions.

Gruber hopes to play tomorrow but will miss the game if Kara goes into early labour.

"Kara and I are down the home stretch now and we're really excited," he said.

‘‘The Hawks have been great about the situation. They’re very family-oriented.

‘‘Kara and I were in the same situation last week when [the Hawks] played in New Zealand and Townsville, and if I’d got the call I would’ve been on a plane straight away.

‘‘Obviously you want to take care of business on the court. You feel that loyalty towards the guys because we’re together so much and they’re like my second family, but obviously family comes first. It’s the most important thing.’’ 

The Hawks have lost eight of their past nine games. Three of those were in overtime, while two losses were to New Zealand by a combined three points.

‘‘We’re very close. Obviously we have some areas we have to improve on, but there’s definitely still a lot of confidence in the group,’’ Gruber said.

‘‘We’re in the top four at the moment and we expect to be in the hunt towards the end of the year. 

‘‘The Breakers are a measuring stick. They’re leading the league and we’re playing right there with them. 

‘‘There’s no secrets. We played New Zealand a few times in the preseason, we’ve played them twice recently, so they know us well and we know them well.

Tipoff tomorrow is at the earlier time of 5pm.

Plenty of tickets are available at the usual outlets.

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