Hawks centre Larry Davidson couldn't believe how easily he sucked Sydney's AJ Ogilvy into a silly unsportsmanlike foul in Saturday's clash at WIN Entertainment Centre.
The Kings had possession of the ball when Ogilvy shoved Davidson to the floor during the third quarter.
Ogilvy was reacting to seeing Kings teammate Ben Madgen on the floor and believed Davidson was the culprit.
Sydney coach Shane Heal was later asked if Ogilvy should be applauded or admonished for jumping to Madgen's defence.
"It's an interesting point, and we've gone through this as a team," he said.
"We respect the fact that you stick up for a teammate, but we have to be smart enough to understand that we've got the ball, and we can't turn around and give someone two free throws and possession.
"There has to be other ways to show that support, particularly with games so close. You just can't react like that."
Madgen was adamant he had been fouled by Davidson and Heal was of the same opinion.
"I was disappointed with the non-call," he said.
"My conversation with [referee] Michael [Aylen] at the time was that if he'd called the foul on Larry, then that play [with Ogilvy] wouldn't have happened."
Interestingly, all four returned to the club where they began their careers.
Davidson didn't dominate in his return from a month-long absence with an ankle injury.
Davidson's eight points and four rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench were a big help in the Hawks' 73-69 victory over Sydney, but he brought something to his team that can't be measured by numbers.
"First and foremost is just his leadership and how he communicates on the floor at all times," star import Rotnei Clarke said.
"I know it puts me at ease and it puts the other guys at ease, hearing him talk and telling us where we're supposed to be.
"He's obviously a great player, but I think his leadership is the biggest thing for us."
Davidson and Dave Gruber did well to limit Sydney centre Ogilvy to just 3/6 shooting and the pair will have do a similar job when the Hawks play the Kings in Sydney this Saturday.
Loyal fans lift Hawks
Some Wollongong fans covered their eyes, others stared at each other in silent disbelief and a few even swore in frustration.
But after nervously watching the Hawks fall behind 12-2 in the first few minutes of Saturday night’s home game against arch rivals Sydney, those same supporters were all smiles after Wollongong’s 73-69 victory.
‘‘Our fans were awesome,’’ Hawks coach Gordie McLeod said.
‘‘We were in a bit of a hole early, but we made some plays and the fans got into it.
‘‘You have to give them something to cheer about.
‘‘They saw the endeavour, they saw the effort, and they jumped on and helped us over the line.’’
Sadly, the traditional grudge match drew just 2224 spectators.
In years gone by, a Hawks-Kings duel at WIN Entertainment Centre would attract at least double that number.
Wollongong have two away games against Sydney and Melbourne before hosting the Tigers on New Year’s Eve.
Wins in their next two matches would certainly help attract a few more spectators for the December 31 clash.
Hawks officials are hoping to fill a 50-seat bus with fans for this Saturday’s road game against Sydney.
A second bus will be booked if seats are in demand.
Cost for bus fare and game ticket is $25 per child and $35 per adult.
Contact Kim at the Hawks office on 42297722 for bookings.
Rivalry not nasty
They want to beat the hell out of each other on the court, but the hate between the Hawks and Kings doesn’t necessarily extend beyond the white lines.
Wollongong grabbed the upper hand in their four-game regular season series with Sydney when they won Saturday night’s round nine encounter 73-69.
The teams lock horns again this Saturday in Kings territory.
‘‘You’re going at it and you want to win, but the rivalry between the clubs isn’t a spiteful or nasty thing,’’ Hawks coach Gordie McLeod said.
‘‘For our area it’s huge, because they’re the big-city team over your back fence and the rivalry has grown. Neighbours always have little disputes over something at some stage, but there’s also a healthy respect.’’
The Hawks have lost a number of players to the Kings over the years, most notably McLeod, Glen Saville, Melvin Thomas and Greg Hubbard.