NBL 21: Cameron Gliddon catches fire to lead South East Melbourne Phoenix past The Hawks

Once a deadeye dick, South East Melbourne Phoenix recruit Cameron Gliddon has had a horrific start to the new NBL season.

The former Australian Boomer’s shooting fell off a cliff last season in Brisbane and a change of scenery in Melbourne had not helped one bit — he was 9-36 (25 per cent) from three-point range in 2021 before Saturday afternoon’s clash with the undefeated Hawks.

And it looked like he was in for much of the same, his four first-half attempts all clunking iron — punctuated by a one-legged prayer on the halftime buzzer that slid through the hoop without touching the sides, but was wiped away by the referees, who deemed it to have left his hands after time expired.

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But basketball is a funny sport and sometimes a shooter just needs to see one touch the twine to find the confidence to turn things around.

In the third quarter, it was as if a new player had pulled on the No.3 jersey as Gliddon’s incredible burst led Phoenix to a 98-82 demolition of The Hawks.

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell backed Cameron Gliddon in and he reaped the rewards against The Hawks. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The 31-year-old went from bricklayer to flamethrower as he poured in an incredible five three-pointers for the third quarter — the fifth a nothing-but-net corner trey as time expired that sent his teammates into rapture and gave the Phoenix a game-high 19-point lead.

“The start of the year’s been a bit of a struggle for me shooting,” Gliddon said on the NBL broadcast after the game.

“The guys are getting me the ball in the right spots and I’ve just failed to put the ball in, so it definitely feels good to get some in and feels better to get the win.”

Gliddon’s red-hot quarter (15pts) effectively put the game to bed, but it was a Phoenix win built on a defensive intensity this side had yet to show, perhaps ever.

In fact, legendary Aussie hooper Andrew Gaze mused that it might be the best defensive performance in the club’s short history.

Mitch Creek (15pts, 7rebs) led from the front, Reuben Te Rangi and Gliddon chased Hawks’ sharpshooters like Justinian Jessup (just 9pts) and Tyler Harvey (13pts) all over the floor, Yanni Wetzel was rock solid under the hoop against bigs AJ Ogilvy (just 2pts), Cam Bairstow (15pts) and Sam Froling (7pts), while Ben Moore was the bench linchpin that sparked the lockdown intensity.

It resulted in the Hawks’ lowest score of the season — their first under 90 — translated into easy buckets in transition at the other end of the floor and ruined the team from the Gong’s perfect 4-0 start to the season.

“A big thing with us is defensive intensity, when we brought the defence and we were pressuring it helped us a lot,” Moore said on the NBL broadcast after the game.

“I think we’ve got to carry that over into the Perth game.”

The Hawks back up Wednesday against powerhouse Melbourne United, while Phoenix will go into its Thursday clash with perennial contender Perth with a renewed confidence.

Brian Goorjian has returned to the NBL this season as coach of The Hawks. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Goorjian, in 1996, when he coach the South East Melbourne Magic — Big M branding in tow.Source:News Corp Australia


Brian Goorjian won his first two NBL titles as coach of South East Melbourne.

It seemed a lifetime ago, but on Saturday afternoon, he was back on the sidelines in Melbourne, sans a few follicles, barking instructions to his players and jawing with the referees, just as he did nearly three decades ago.

While he’s been here, there and everywhere since, in those days, the club from the Heartland was known as the Magic, with the iconic Big M advertising on their jerseys and the likes of Rob Rose, Bruce Bolden and Sam Mackinnon as top dogs.

The difference, apart from a rebirthed South East Melbourne — Phoenix, rather than Magic — was that on Saturday, he was plotting the Melbourne club’s downfall.

Ever the motivator, the six-time NBL champion urged his charges to “break their hearts”, but it was the Phoenix who laid it all on the line and

Ben Moore was in everything for the Phoenix. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


Moore gets more accustomed to the NBL with every minute he spends on the floor.

He’s fast-becoming the Phoenix bench energiser bunny, combining an offensive punch that teams are going to have to start respecting more, with the dirty work that others don’t necessarily like to do.

He’s second in the NBL in offensive rebounding at almost four a game and put together a second straight double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, to go along with three blocks and a steal.

Originally published asThe real Cam Gliddon finally stands up for Phoenix

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