IF you can boo Kevin Lisch, you can boo anyone.
That includes former Hawks – now Perth Wildcats – Mitch Norton and Nick Kay, according to Wollongong favourite Kevin White.
The Illawarra faithful are all too aware of the feeling that comes with their former stars returning to the WEC in rival colours, having seen Lisch do precisely that two seasons ago – in Sydney Kings garb no less.
Hawks fans let him know about it but, as is his way, Lisch took it with good grace. It’s what you’d expect from the two-time MVP who has also been a perennial finalist in the ‘world’s nicest man’ contest.
Kay and Norton will do so on Sunday in the only slightly less despised Perth singlet, having been poached by the Wildcats last off-season.
It’ll sting and White has urged the Hawks fans to make their feelings known on Sunday.
“If the world’s nicest man Kevin Lisch gets booed, suuurely Mitch Norton gets booed because he’s not half the man Kevin Lisch is,” White said.
“I’ll definitely be telling all the fans to give them the Kev Lisch treatment. Hopefully we get more boos for Norto and I think we’ll try and keep the stadium silent for Nick so he plays in his own head.”
A good mate of both men, White’s barb comes with tongue firmly in cheek having watched the pair grow from promising up and comers to Boomers in their two seasons in Wollongong.
It’s that exact trajectory that’s sure to raise the ire of the home fans on Sunday but, smack talk aside, it’s something White has enjoyed being a witness to.
“Norto and I are really good mates and the two years we had together were great, Nick as well,” White said.
“I talk to them pretty much every week, I watch all their games. To see the growing process they’ve both gone through to being part of the Boomers squad, to be part of that growth, and to have them as mates has been unreal.”
Playing against former teammates is a common occurence in professional sport but, while most would put the phone away in the lead-up, White says he’ll take a different tact.
“There’ll be more texts and more contact,” he joked.
“We both have that white-line fever when we walk on. We’re not going to talk to each other on the court, we’ll bash each other if we need to.
“We won’t take a backward step from each other, but at the end of the day we’ll probably end up having a beer together for Toddy Blanchfield’s birthday.”
It’s true. The pair are incumbent Boomers and deserve to make all the cash they can out of the game – careers are limited. It’s something clubs and players accept. However, it’s right of the fans not to. No doubt the Hawks faithful will make their feelings known on Sunday.