In terms of sporting rivalries they don’t come much fiercer than the Illawarra Hawks and the Sydney Kings.
It has been a long-running and at times bitter relationship between the neighbouring clubs in the National Basketball League and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. It has always had a sense of a “big brother versus little brother”.
As the 2018-19 NBL season approaches, that rivalry only promises to be heightened as the Kings have spent up big time to compile a star-studded list of players, not least of which is former NBA star Andrew Bogut.
On the other hand the Hawks, the only remaining foundation club of the NBL, are a small budget operation and this year’s side has been built out of some young up-and-coming players and some players getting their second chance in the NBL and some veterans.
Guiding the Hawks is proven master coach Rob Beveridge.
At the helm of the Kings sits one of the greatest names in Australian basketball in Andrew Gaze, though his credentials as a coach remain largely unproven still.
Yet the cornerstone of the Hawks remains their marquee big man AJ Ogilvy.
While much of the pre-season hype has rightly centred around Bogut and the Kings, Ogilvy will be as every bit as important to his team’s chances.
After a season marred by injury, Ogilvy will clash for the first time with the Sydney Kings star in a pre-season encounter announced for the WIN Entertainment Centre on September 16.
Bogut has played with five NBA teams in a 14-year career, winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015 and part of an NBA record with 73 wins in the 2015-16 regular season.
Ogilvy has been a standout centre in the NBL for number of years now, but Bogut will be his biggest test yet.
Given the Kings don’t make it back to the Gong until December in the regular season this will be a big opportunity for the Hawkheads to “welcome” their arch rivals.
And it will be a big chance for the star centres to prove just who is the Bogey Man.