Hawks celebrate NBL season as free agency looms

WILD AND WACKY: The Illawarra Hawks are Dicey Rileys. Picture: ADAM McLEAN
WILD AND WACKY: The Illawarra Hawks are Dicey Rileys. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

If ‘Wacky Wednesday’ was a blur for the Illawarra Hawks squad, the upcoming free agency period doesn’t appear to be much clearer.

While most contract talk was put on the back-burner as the beers flowed for the club’s annual end of season celebrations on Wednesday, there can be no doubt a roster shake-up looms on the horizon. 

Illawarra’s Wacky Wednesday at Dicey Rileys could indeed be one of the last times the majority of the squad spend time together. 

Only Hawks centre AJ Ogilvy has a guaranteed roster spot next season if he chooses to exercise his player option.

The remainder of the Hawks line-up is off contract.

It’s a trend that’s similar across almost every other roster in the league and sets up one of the biggest off-seasons the NBL has seen in years.

“There is a huge unknown with the whole league,” Hawks veteran Oscar Forman said. 

“The whole league is out of contract pretty much. The majority of teams have eight or nine guys unsigned.

“Two years ago was when Brisbane came in and Townsville went out. There was huge player movement and everyone signed two year deals to get a bit of length to the deal.

“We have got one guys on an option contract so I expect there will be a lot of movement around the whole league and not just in our club.”

MERCURY SPORT Pic shows Hawks players Rhysd Martin and Tim Coenraad  having a Whacky Wednesday at Dicey Rileys at the end of their NBL season. 21st of February Photo by Adam McLean story by Mitch Cohen

MERCURY SPORT Pic shows Hawks players Rhysd Martin and Tim Coenraad having a Whacky Wednesday at Dicey Rileys at the end of their NBL season. 21st of February Photo by Adam McLean story by Mitch Cohen

Forman, 36, is choosing to wait to make a decision on his own future as he enjoyed the celebrations. Star import Demitrius Conger, who will undoubtedly attract interest from all over the world, was keen to take a similar approach but said playing in Australia was still an option. 

“I am keen for Summer League or playing in the summer time or whatever. As long as it makes sense and there are options,” he said.

Meanwhile, Boomers representatives Nick Kay and Mitch Norton were both notable absentees from the festivities as they prepare with national team for Thursday’s clash against the Philippines.

Norton was drafted into the squad as cover for injured United guard Chris Goulding.

Import Rotnei Clarke has already travelled back to the United States.