Kings, Hawks adjust to life in Albury, Melbourne could host four clubs in hub

Kings, Hawks adjust to life in Albury, Melbourne could host four clubs in hub

“Everyone says this is a difficult situation and poor Hawks, poor Kings but I take the view that there are so many positives from this,” Goorjian said.

“For a lot of people this would be horrible and difficult but my team is young, new, hungry and excited. We get to put everyone under the one roof, we can do film work at night, we can eat together and Albury has provided us with an excellent place to lift [weights] and the basketball courts are excellent.

Hawks coach Brian Goorjian.Credit:Getty Images

“We are using this 10 days like a boot camp to come out of this thing throwing punches for our first game when the league starts.”

The Kings expect they will be in Albury for two weeks and possibly until they head to Perth for their first game on January 15 but as with the Hawks, plans are still being finalised.

The Hawks have a young side and Goorjian believes this testing pre-season is bringing his side together.

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“I’ve been blown away by these guys,” Goorjian said.

“We don’t have 32-year-old guys [with families] so there are advantages to that. Our guys are fluid, they can go out, eat a hamburger or throw down a subway, and then we can roll at practice.

“That fires me up. Through all this, I’m excited about this and everybody knows this is no one’s fault. It’s not the NBL’s fault, these are unprecedented times and the league is doing everything they can to help us.”

Kings centre Daniel Kickert planned to share the Christmas in New South Wales with his wife and two daughters plus his Melbourne based family.

Daniel Kickert of the Kings warms up during the NBL pre-season game between the Sydney Kings and the Hawks in Sydney on December 20.

Daniel Kickert of the Kings warms up during the NBL pre-season game between the Sydney Kings and the Hawks in Sydney on December 20.Credit:Getty Images

Instead the 37-year old was forced to head to Albury with his teammates on Boxing Day, he admits it is far from ideal for his family and his clubmates but he knows the Kings have to accept the changed circumstances which will likely see them in Albury for two weeks ahead of their road games against Perth Wildcats and Adelaide 36ers in round one.

The length of their stay in Albury is still being worked out by the clubs and the league.

“It’s been tough, some guys missed out on Christmas with their families, some planned to travel and get out and about with their family and friends but that didn’t happen,” Kickert said.

“But we understand the profession we are in and it’s important we keep ourselves as safe and secure as possible so we can get out and do our job.

“I spent Christmas Day with my immediate family, my two kids and my wife, my family couldn’t come up from Melbourne, they had to turn around and come back.

“We had a big trip in the Blue Mountains planned but it is what it is. We made the most of it. We had enough time to prepare for what was coming and make the most of the day together as a family.”

NBL clubs have faced a long and trying off-season since last campaign ended in March with the season delayed until January from its usual tip-off in October.

But Kickert said the Kings were not making excuses.

“We go in with the understanding that it’s easy to make excuses and let scenarios like this weigh you down,” Kickert said.

“But heading into these sessions, we have made a concerted effort to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

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