Norton out to take chance

Late last month Illawarra's Mitch Norton was spending the start of his NBL off-season helping teammate Nick Kay prepare for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

CALL UP: Hawks guard Mitch Norton will suit up for the Boomers at the Commonwealth Games. Picture: FIBA.com

CALL UP: Hawks guard Mitch Norton will suit up for the Boomers at the Commonwealth Games. Picture: FIBA.com

Roll forward the clock to Friday night and the Hawks vice captain will be joining his good friend on court at Gold Coast 2018.

Earlier this week, the Townsville product was announced as a late addition to the Boomers squad alongside Lucas Walker after Mitch Creek and Michael Hodgson both withdrew.

He had played an important part during Australia's recent World Cup qualifiers in Melbourne, but narrowly missed selection for the Games tournament.

That was until he received call from Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis just a few weeks ago.

"Andrej hit me up with the situation and obviously said he would like to bring me back into the team, which was great," Norton said.

"It's probably been a couple of weeks [since then], so it has been hard to keep it under wraps.

"Fortunately I had been helping Nick [Kay] a bit with his preparation and had stayed in shape, which was lucky.

"It's great to be part of the team and to play our games so close to my home [of Townsville] in Cairns.

“My family is over the moon and are planning on coming down.”   

 Norton and Kay, who are both currently unsigned for next season and headed for free agency, were part of the Australian team which claimed gold at the Asia Cup last year.

The star duo will face-off against Canada, Nigeria and New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.

Australia are heavy favourites to take out the gold medal again on the Gold Coast.

They achieved the feat the last time basketball was held at the Games in Melbourne in 2006.

"Brad Newley played in the team in 2008 when they home gold on home soil and said it was amazing," Norton said.

"It's obviously massive to play in a Commonwealth Games, particularly in Australia which is pretty rare.

"It's very special. Hopefully we can do it again and go all the way.”

The Boomers open their campaign on Friday night against Canada at Cairns Convention Centre before playing the Tall Blacks (April 7) and Nigeria (April 9).

Meanwhile, Hawks coach Rob Beveridge will be in charge of the Scottish National Team for the Games. They are in a pool with India, Cameron and England.

  • SCHEDULE

April 6: Boomers vs. Canada at 5.30pm

April 7: Boomers vs. New Zealand at 9.00pm

April 9: Boomers vs. Nigeria at 9.00pm