ROUND 5 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Leading the Red Dust Heelers to a sweep of Round 5 and into the top four on the ladder, Brad Ness has earned the Player of the Week award.
Coming off a shoulder injury last year, Ness returned to his best form over the weekend to defeat the Perth Wheelcats in three consecutive meetings while averaging just under a triple-double with 25.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, 9.3 assists and one steal per game.
Winning six of their past seven games, Red Dust have raced into third position on the ladder and now have a real shot at finishing in the top two heading into the playoffs with only four rounds remaining in the regular season.
As player and coach of the Heelers, Ness has proven he is not troubled by the extra responsibility and he has been able to play seamlessly alongside Paralympic gold medalist Josh Turek whose arrival has also coincided with Red Dust’s improved form.
On Friday night against the Wheelcats, Ness fell just a rebound short of a triple-double but was extremely efficient at the offensive end, shooting 11-17 from the field for 23 points, nine rebounds and ten assists.
He did all that in just 28 minutes, setting the tone in the opening term with nine points including an and-one play, five assists and a steal on Rollers team mate Shaun Norris.
Leading by nine points at half-time, Red Dust then pulled away with a 19-8 third term as Ness equalled Perth’s total with eight points himself while his team went on to win 84-58.
The following night, the Heelers started hot again to lead by 11 points at half-time with Ness scoring the first six points for his team before collecting 21 points, five rebounds and four assists by the main break.
Perth were up for the fight and cut the deficit to five at three-quarter time but Ness responded to score five of Red Dust’s first nine points.
Midway through the final quarter, he then claimed a triple-double to finish with 34 points, 13 rebounds and ten assists as the Heelers held off the Wheelcats with a 91-88 victory while Ness was highly efficient again, shooting 16-21 from the field.
He capped off an incredible weekend on Sunday, going close to another triple-double with 20 points, 15 boards and eight assists while almost matching Perth’s total of 17 defensive rebounds with 14 himself.
The Heelers found themselves in a dogfight though, trailing by five points with four minutes remaining.
Ness played the distributor role in the final term, tallying five assists as he regularly found Turek for two while Tony Wade and Angus Johnston also got involved.
On the final play of the game and with the scores tied, Turek grabbed a steal and pushed the ball up the floor for a Wade game-winner.
He missed but Ness was there to clean it up and sink the game-winner, finishing off a brilliant weekend with another six points, four boards and five assists in the final term to pull Red Dust over the line in a sweep of Round 5.
Brad Ness Round 5 Stats: 25.6 points on 37-51 (73%) shooting, 12.3 rebounds (1.3 offensive), 9.3 assists and one steal per game.