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SkyCity Breakers honour 2011 team in Heritage Round

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The SKYCITY Breakers will play the NBL Heritage Round of games (v Illawarra Jan 13, Melbourne Jan 18 at NSEC, Cairns Jan 20 and Illawarra again at home on February 4th at Spark Arena) proudly wearing a playing uniform designed in part by their current Head Coach Paul Henare, one that was worn during the later part of that season that ended with the Grand Final win over Cairns.

NBL clubs can choose a uniform for the annual Heritage Round as the league acknowledges the past, inviting fans and media to reminisce along with the clubs about days gone by, with clubs choosing a successful or pivotal time in their history.

And while for the Breakers that history only goes back some 15 years, there are still plenty of landmark moments or seasons to call upon, with their first ever Championship at or near the top of that list.

The uniform was worn in the post-season of 2011 as the team defeated first Perth and then Cairns to lift their first Championship. Henare was invited to contribute to the design at the time, knowing that he would retire at the end of the season, it was an honour that the foundation player recalls fondly.

"It is very cool, we don’t have a rich history in terms of longevity in the competition, but we do have many stories to tell. Dillon has spoken to the team about why we are wearing this uniform, it is the year we won our first championship and it was pretty special of the club to recognize me as I retired, with a special uniform that year. Hopefully the guys will wear it with pride.

"The image in the design is of my Tā moko from my right forearm, which in a nutshell represents me and my family and the journey we are on together. We took a few minutes to explain that to the players yesterday and hopefully it gives them that little bit extra incentive to perform well in the jersey."

The team in 2010/11 included current roster players Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Kirk Penney, Alex Pledger and current GM, Dillon Boucher and of course Head Coach Henare.

"That has been one of the strengths of this group and the SKYCITY Breakers over the years, having a core group staying together a long time and going through good and bad times. All those experiences help build character in your team, it is nice to reflect on the 2010/11 roster and remember the club from that time."

Fans can first celebrate the Heritage Round at the North Shore Events Centre on Thursday January 18, the venue of course for that famous first Championship win. The team takes on fierce rivals Melbourne United, tip off at 7:30pm, in a game that might have significant connotations for the post-season.

Meantime the team travels today (Friday) to play Illawarra on Saturday night, the first of four games against the Hawks in the final ten as the regular season heads to an exciting conclusion.

Remembering 2010/11 - ten great moments to cherish during Heritage Round Games

Breakers go where no other New Zealand sporting team has gone before (not including Rugby Super competition) and win an Australian Championship

Gary Wilkinson plays for the Breakers for the first time, renowned for his passionate play and engagement with the fans, he would annoy opposing teams and upset fans as much as he was loved by Breaker Nation

Mika Vukona returns for his second stint at the club, re-signing after a spell with the Gold Coast Blaze

Kirk Penney plays his final year of his first stint with Breakers, making the all ANBL First Team, averaging 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Penney won multiple Player of the Week and Player of the Month awards

A regular season record of 22-6 delivers the club a Minor Premiership, well clear of second placed Townsville Crocodiles (17-11)

Mika Vukona suffers one of the most famous injuries in the NBL’s history, going down with a knee injury in the first game of the semifinal series against Perth. The Breakers would lose that game and be told it was a 3 to 5-week injury and thoughts of a championship diminished. 3 days later, Vukona famously passes a fitness test and somehow plays in the remainder of the series and the finals, leading the Breakers to their championship. This invoked the famous halftime interview in Perth when Damian Martin said, ‘we are being beaten by a guy on one leg’.

Foundation player Paul Henare announces that he will retire at the end of the season. He does so playing his 250th game for the club on a night when they would cut down the nets at the North Shore Events Centre

The Breakers go to Cairns one up in the Grand Final series and look to seal the Championship on the road. They look like doing just that when leading into the final seconds, but a miracle Ron Dorsey three takes the game into overtime, where more Dorsey heroics deny the Breakers and set up a decider

Tom Abercrombie is named Finals MVP with a typical all court display from the swingman, with plenty of points and great defence while ‘finisher’ Kevin Braswell picks up best sixth man for the season

The Breakers come home to win the Championship, with the final quarter a sellout celebration as the Andrej Lemanis coached team demolishes the Taipans 71-53 to cut down the nets for the first time in the club’s history.

Illawarra Hawks v SKYCITY Breakers

Wollongong

Saturday 13 January

9:30pm tip off NZT

Live on SKY Sport

Next Home Game

Celebrating the Heritage Round

Thursday 18th January

North Shore Events Centre

7:30pm tip off

v Melbourne United

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