High praise for Conger, ultimate NBL goal for Illawarra Hawks

Experienced: Import Demetrius Conger has joined the Illawarra Hawks.

Experienced: Import Demetrius Conger has joined the Illawarra Hawks.

Reminds you of Glen Saville you say, Bevo?

You had us at hello. 

There’s hardly a comparison in Illawarra sport which stands in higher esteem. 

It’s like telling a Steelers tragic John Dorahy just walked into the pub, even though he’s probably just after your vote. It puts a Hawks fan in lathers. 

“He’s a complete player”, Bevo offered in summary of Illawarra’s newly-announced 2017-18 import Demetrius Conger’s many talents.

For everything he brings to the NBL table, experience is probably the most important.

For all the romance of the Hawks winning a second title, Saville took them to their last in 2001, this year is crucial. 

From the US, via Italy, Greece and Belgium, Conger arrives with a remarkable 6’11” wingspan and a resume to handle the rigours of travel, short back-ups and the consistency to help deliver the Illawarra Hawks the title they crave. Because even in the depths of  a winter off-season, there’s a level of expectation on the Hawks not seen in a generation. 

The perennial underdogs, forever punching above their weight, on a budget, only have one step left to take in the NBL. 

The Hawks’ contractual arrangements make this season as important as any in their history.

Most of the squad was already locked in for this season, before making it to the grand final series against Perth in March. Mitch Norton and Nick Kay are now firmly part of the Boomers plans. Of course, AJ Ogilvy should be as well, but that’s another story. 

As if there was any doubt, Beveridge is confident he’s found the man they need, which is also a nod to the continued rise of international basketball and not needing to dip into the unpredictable and unpolished world of the US College system. The Hawks are $5.50 with Sportsbet.com.au to win the upcoming NBL season, rated fourth behind defending champions Perth, with Adelaide and Brisbane the rank outsiders. 

Ask Bulldogs fans about being destined to win an NRL grand final in 2012 and 2014. Or West Coast fans about an AFL flag after the near 2015 fairytale. 

The sense of destiny leaves a bitter after-taste when it all turns sour. 

Which is why Conger is such a major piece of the puzzle. 

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