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Bruton: 'We got a lot of work to do'

10 Sep
3 mins read

Written By

Dale Fletcher

Adelaide 36ers head coach says focus remains on regular season after loss to Bullets.

Adelaide 36ers head coach CJ Bruton said his side has “a lot of work to do” after Saturday’s 103-78 pre-season loss to Brisbane Bullets at The Lights Community Centre.

The 36ers this week will prepare for the NBL Blitz, which starts on Sunday, and Bruton said his side will look to respond from their first loss of the campaign.

“We have a few things to clean up as we prepare for the start of the season,” Bruton said.

“Ultimately it all comes down to the start of the season, people see that game and see you lose by 25 points, it’s disappointing to lose by that much, but you need to continue to grow.

“It’s pre-season, we have been great in the pre-season in past years, but it doesn’t guarantee you success in the main season.”

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After bouncing back late in the opening quarter on Saturday afternoon to take a 27-25 lead into the first break, the 36ers succumbed to Brisbane’s tough game plan, the Bullets exploding for a 34-15 second period.

“The first quarter we went blow for blow with them early and I was pleased with how we responded,” Bruton said.

“But, they took us out of our offense too easy, they were physical defensively and took it right up to us.

“It was a good hit out, but I’m glad it’s pre-season and we got through some fresh bodies through.”

Adelaide rested star centre Isaac Humphries and off-season recruit Alex Starling, with Jacob Wiley making his NBL24 debut back in 36ers colours.

The 201cm power forward came off the bench to be the instant spark plug for the home side and finished with a team-high 16 points.

“Wiley is a starter and it was great for us to get him a few minutes, he hasn’t really been on the floor for the best part of two weeks,” Bruton said.

“He is always going to give you his all and he showed that yet again.”

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After the opening 10 minutes, the Bullets controlled the match with Adelaide making an impassioned run to start the third quarter, but Brisbane showed poise to extend their margin.

Import swingman Trey Kell showed glimpses of his match-winning form, collecting 14 points and was always a threat at the offensive end.

“Kell has been great, his IQ and his understanding of the game helps us on both sides of the ball right now, he is only going to get better,” Bruton said.

Nominated injury replacement player Jacob Rigoni made his 36ers debut in the absence of Humphries and Starling, Bruton playing the 198cm forward for 13 straight minutes in the second half.

“I would have liked to have played him in the first half, he has been amazing t practice and he fully deserves his chance,” Bruton said.

“This is how hard work and dedication does, it pays off, the way he plays the game should inspire the next generation.”

Adelaide will begin its NBL Blitz campaign next Sunday afternoon against New Zealand Breakers.

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