The Mount Gambier Pioneers, the Premier League’s newest team, have made a promising start to their maiden season in the league.
While they sit 2-2, they have come up against some top teams, defeated Sturt and Southern in impressive fashion, and recently only just lost to league leaders Norwood, going down in overtime.
The club has certainly had to adjust to a new league and to bringing in a lot of new players, but the players onboard the Pioneers have provided reason for optimism.
Two of these players are the Daly brothers, Sam and Tom, who have both experienced basketball at a college or NBL level and are now joining together to form what could be one of the league’s most dynamic duos.
“The opportunity to come home and still play for a successful club with a good coach, and obviously Tom being on the team, were major reasons why I joined the Pioneers”, says Sam, who just recently joined the team after finishing his season with the Sydney Kings in the NBL.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can handle the ball this year so I can play off ball a bit more. I can be a bit more of a scorer or a shooter and slasher, which is good. I’m really excited for that extended sort of role here.”
The Pioneers are a relatively young team this year and the enthusiasm and experience the brothers bring could be key to getting the most out of the team and reaching the ultimate goal.
“We’re a much younger team now, mostly all 24 and under, and even guys who are 16 and 17 now are playing major roles at training and getting on court”, says Tom, who has played multiple seasons in an integral point guard role for the club.
“Having been exposed to a high level of training and professionalism and how the best guys in the business do it, we’re trying to pass that on to the younger guys to help them get to the highest level they can.”
It’s not just the leadership they bring though, with both players having the ability to combine and take over a game – their game against Southern a couple weeks ago where they combined for 63 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds for example.
“For opposition teams it’s going to be tough because there’s two of us now, I don’t really take anything away from him and vice versa so it’s been good so far”, says Sam.
“We complement each other very well, we’re both athletic and quick in the open court and we like to get out and run and use our speed, which works with our game style, so it’s going to be lots of fun”, explains Tom.
However, despite the boost the combination of the Daly brothers has provided to the team, they were not able to get over the line against a flaming hot Norwood side over the weekend.
“We’ve got to give Norwood credit though because they put pressure on us physically and mentally”, says Tom.
“We sort of lost it mentally in the last few minutes but it was a good learning experience for us which we will push on from.”
There is no doubt that things are looking positive for the Pioneers though, and the Daly brothers believe that their side is capable of reaching the ultimate goal.
“We’ve got lots of work to do because we’ve come together late but I’d be pretty confident we can get into finals and give it a crack if we tick all the boxes and keep improving.”, Tom explains.
“I came here knowing this club would be successful. We’re a good team and we work every day, so we should eventually find our way into finals, but we need to take it game by game”, says Sam.
However the Pioneers go for the rest of the season, fans will undoubtedly witness effective and entertaining basketball from the Daly brothers and co.