Success does not run skin deep. It runs much deeper than that.
Sunday will be the first time Illawarra Hawks fans will get to see their nearly all new-look team in action, up against arch rival the Sydney Kings at the WIN Entertainment Centre in an National Basketball League pre-season clash.
Given their marquee signing Andrew Bogut and a host of other stars in their line-up, many are already handing the Sydney Kings the 2018-19 title. However, if anything, the Kings are testament to the fact success runs much, much deeper than what’s on the surface.
Despite their big budget and big-name recruiting over many years the Kings have largely been devoid of success. Time and time again. Yet this column isn’t about the Kings, that’ll wait for another day.
Two seasons ago, the Illawarra Hawks, under the guidance of master coach Rob Beveridge, defied the critics and made it all the way to the grand final series against NBL superpower the Perth Wildcats.
Arguably last season, the Hawks assembled an even better side on paper, but success on court was hard to come by. In fact Beveridge is on record as describing it as a “s**t” year. The side struggled all year, key big man AJ Ogilvy was hamstrung by injury and things off the court were volatile within the club’s inner sanctum.
The departure of former general manager Kim Welch, the signing of new general manager and club legend Mat Campbell and Simon Stratford taking sole ownership of the club has given the Hawks a fresh start.
And Beveridge has had to rebuild a side from scratch, assembling a team largely constructed of key bigs, some emerging young talent and some imports seeking their own redemption in the NBL. Beveridge is wearing the scars of last season like a badge of honour and many of his foot soldiers have similar points to prove. Together they are armed with pride and conviction.
Hawks fans are used to seeing a run, gun and sharp-shooting team, but this year’s team will undoubtedly bring a much harder edge to the table. Something that fits well with the steely resolve of this region.
As Australian basketball writer and broadcaster Liam Santamaria tagged it this week as a “Bevolution”. That’s indeed what it is. “Welcome to the Bevolution” Hawkheads.
The Hawks will donate $5 from every ticket sold to Sunday’s game to the Buy A Bale initiative supporting local farmers. For tickets go online to ticketmaster.com.au