The Wollongong Hawks expect centre Larry Davidson to be free to play in Saturday’s vital season-ending stoush with Adelaide, despite an impending date with the NBL tribunal.
Davidson will answer a charge of tripping Sydney’s Ben Madgen late in the first half of last Friday’s 81-74 home win.
The hearing will take place via telephone today or tomorrow.
The NBL alleges Davidson ‘‘grabbed Madgen with both hands while on his back after diving for a loose ball, causing Madgen to fall to the ground’’.
Footage of the incident also showed Madgen’s knee coming into contact with Davidson’s head a split-second before Madgen fell.
Madgen, who has not been charged, seemed to make no effort to evade him.
The Hawks could not comment on the charge under league rules but were confident Davidson would take his usual place in the starting line-up for the meeting with the last-placed 36ers.
Ironically, Wollongong were involved in a tripping incident the previous week against Townsville.
Crocodiles forward Jacob Holmes grabbed the leg of Hawks guard Tyson Demos and was later charged with tripping.
The tribunal found Holmes not guilty, determining he had raised his arms as he slid backwards across the court and had not intended to make contact with Demos.
Sydney coach Shane Heal will seek a ‘‘please explain’’ from NBL referees manager Peter Carey after being left baffled by some calls throughout the game.
The Kings were whistled for 10 fouls in the first quarter, resulting in 16 trips to the free throw line for the Hawks.
‘‘I’ll speak to Peter Carey because I missed the memo to say the game was going to be called a different way,’’ Heal said.
‘‘We’ve never had 10 fouls in a quarter. I’ve never seen that before. They had 16 free throws, so we did a good job to hang in there and be up after the first quarter.’’
Heal wondered if the high foul count might’ve been on his players’ minds and made them tentative in the second and third quarters.
‘‘Maybe it’s a reaction, because we’re on the guys about fouls and we can’t keep giving Wollongong free throws,’’ the four-time Olympian said of Wollongong’s dominance in the middle two periods.
‘‘Maybe our guys go a little bit softer with it and react to the way the referees are, and maybe that contributes to us taking our foot off the pedal a bit.’’
Heal’s comments weren’t sour grapes.
‘‘We take our hats off to Wollongong,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re a good team, they’re well coached. Their guys stepped up at the right time and hit big shots.
‘‘We showed character at the end of the game, but we didn’t show character when the game was on the line. I was disappointed with that.
‘‘We didn’t play like it was a final. That’s not the culture we’re breeding at the Kings.’'