JARRYD MCGUANE THE ADVOCATE The stalemate between the NWBU and North-West Thunder over the availability of Sejr Deans for the NBL1 season has come an end after the junior star signed on with Wynyard.
The Thunder announced on Thursday that Deans will link up with import Samajae Haynes-Jones and Mitchell Rowlands on the Wildcats’ roster, meaning he was eligible to play for the representative side in the second strongest league in the country.
The NWBU rule states that if a player wants to play with the Thunder, they have to play at least 40 per cent of games during the NWBU season.
The NBL1 club had put in a request to have Deans earn an exemption from the rule due to workload reasons, which was rejected by the NWBU clubs. Thunder coach Sam Armstrong said he was ecstatic to get Deans on board for the upcoming season.
“It was always our goal to have Sejr in our program and we went down a path where we tried to get things through and it didn’t work out,” he said. “That was fine and we were looking out for the best outcome for everyone and we feel we have got that now with him being able to play for our program. “There was never any animosity there and we will move on.”
Armstrong said the signing of Deans will also slightly offset the Thunder’s loss of sharpshooter Reyne Smith, who has moved to Canberra to become a member of the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence program.
“Sejr will play through our guard rotation, regardless of his age, he has proven over the last 12 months that he is very capable at this level,” Armstrong said. “Obviously with Reyne taking up his spot with the COE, there was even more of a push to get Sejr involved in the program.”
There was also a positive for the Thunder on the injury front with Armstrong confirming Haynes-Jones was going to be fine after sitting out most of the second half of the Wildcats’ NWBU loss to Somerset on Tuesday.
“He just got a corked thigh last week that just flared back up during the game.
“It is nothing that a bit of rest won’t fix, so he will have a light week this week and be right to go again next week.”
One hole left to fill was the role of a big man to compliment the Thunder’s array of guards and forwards.
Armstrong said the club was close to finalising a signing who would help alleviate the pressure on the current big men on the roster in Paul Campbell, Cameron Brown and Brad Simpson.
“We are still looking to fill that spot, we have been talking to a few guys at the moment and hopefully in the coming days we will be able to release something.
“It will definitely be through our big department for sure, we need some extra help through there and we are just trying to get the right fit at the moment.”
The Thunder will begin the NBL1 season on the road against the Albury Wodonga Bandits on April 18 and the Dandenong Rangers on April 19.