Mason Bragg’s exit from the North-West Thunder confirmed

ALEX FAIR   THE ADVOCATE   The list of players leaving the North-West Thunder has grown, with coach Sam Armstrong confirming Mason Bragg had departed the club to “explore other opportunities” in his quest to return to the NBL.

Also on the way out is Lachlan Barker, who Armstrong said would be playing in Victoria, while the coach said Joe Chilcott was “undecided” about his plans for 2019.

It comes after the club lost Ben Richmond to football and NWFL club Wynyard.

“For us this is the current basketball landscape and he (Bragg) is the type of guy who is trying to make a living out of what he is doing,’’ Armstrong said on Thursday when confirming the news.

“Guys, not just him, make decisions about what they feel will be best for their careers going forward, and we have to respect that.”

Armstrong said there was ongoing discussions not only with Chilcott, but other players, noting it was hard for players to commit without any guarantees about what might happen in 2019.

The Thunder have been accepted into Basketball Victoria’s elite competition, but worries about sharing game day duties with the Launceston Tornadoes have made the club wary about entering.

“I am sure there are some guys just sitting there waiting for some things to happen,’’ Armstrong said.

“I am really hopeful Joe will go on with the club, and he hasn’t indicated that he won’t be, and with Lachie going to Melbourne, he is wants to engross himself in that environment to keep his (NBL) dream alive.

“To be honest, this has probably been one of the most difficult off-seasons I have had as a player or a coach with everything that has gone on.

“But I give full credit to everyone at the club to battle away through all this, and we will leave no stone unturned to be involved.

“But the not knowing, that has been quite difficult.”

Armstrong said he was hopeful that this weekend’s meeting between Basketball Victoria, Basketball Tasmania and the Tasmanian clubs would give him and the club more clarity on their future.

Pre-season training for the North-West Thunder will start on Thursday at Ulverstone Sports and Recreation Centre at 6.30pm.