36ers coach Wright back to business


Adelaide coach Joey Wright says he has no animosity with the Wildcats. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Adelaide coach Joey Wright says he has no animosity with the Wildcats. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Adelaide 36ers coach Joey Wright says he wouldn't change a thing about his involvement in a fiery NBL fracas.

Preparing for Friday night's crucial showdown with a resurgent Hawks in Wollongong, Wright is now trying to forget all about Perth Wildcats assistant coach Adam Tatalovich.

Wright and Tatalovich were found not guilty by the NBL judiciary on Monday after being charged for their roles in the scuffle after the February 14 clash of the competition pacesetters in Perth.

"I hate that it happened but I don't think I would change anything," Wright said yesterday.

"We are playing a competitive sport and when the sport stops, sportsmanship starts. And there is no need to try and intimidate someone physically."

Wright was cleared of a striking charge and Tatalovich was exonerated of two charges - making physical contact with the 36ers' coach and also abusing him.

"I didn't even know he was an assistant," Wright said of Tatalovich.

"So I didn't know who he was before and I'm trying to forget who he is now."

Perth Wildcats star James Ennis was last week found not guilty of a striking charge stemming from the melee.

Both clubs were found guilty of breaching the NBL's code of conduct, but avoided immediate sanction - the league fined each club $5000, then suspended the penalty for 12 months.

Wright had to wait 10 days for his judiciary hearing, with the initial hearing scheduled for last Friday postponed because a judiciary member was unavailable.

"I thought it would go the way it did, to be honest with you," Wright said.

"I was happy just to get it out the way and get it out of the public's eye and get back to doing what I like to do best."

The ladder-leading Wildcats next meet second-placed Adelaide on March 14, the last round before the finals.

But Wright said there was no lingering ill feeling, saying Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson was a close friend.

"I talked to him a couple of hours after the incident and the next day as well. There is no angst or animosity there at all," Wright said.

"Trevor and me have been friends for a long time. Trevor lived with me for six months in the US at one time. So we're good friends and we'll continue to be."

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Breakers have fined guard Corey Webster for his comments about match officials after the NBL champions' loss to Wollongong last week.

Webster made his views known via Twitter, but had deleted the message before the club raised it with him.

His tweet after the 88-68 defeat was deemed a breach of team protocol and the NBL code of conduct.

The Breakers fined him $500, with the punishment suspended subject to no further breaches of team protocol before the end of the season.

Chief executive Richard Clarke described Webster's actions as being born of frustration rather than malice.

"It isn't our culture as a club to blame others for our own results," he added.

Webster said he made a bad decision and apologised to fans and the league.

"Finding excuses or blaming other people isn't going to change results," he said.

The sixth-placed Breakers host bottom-of-table Townsville tomorrow night.

With a 9-14 record and just five matches to play, their hopes of a fourth title in-a-row are looking slim. AAP


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