NBL and South East Melbourne will allow Mitch Creek to return to playing despite an ongoing criminal investigation



NBL player Mitch Creek is eligible to play on Thursday after being granted permission to “resume active team duties” after his criminal matters were adjourned to April.

Creek, who plays for the South East Melbourne Phoenix, has not played since he was charged by police in Victoria on March 15 with assault offences. 

The NBL and the Phoenix said at the time he would not be allowed to play until further notice. 

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, NBL and the Phoenix announced Creek would be eligible to play in Thursday’s match against the Illawarra Hawks. 

“The decision to allow him to play is not an indication to his guilt or innocence in relation to the criminal investigation being undertaken by Victoria Police, which the NBL and South East Melbourne are treating extremely seriously,” the statement read.

“Mitch Creek will relinquish his co-captaincy of the team and will not participate in any community activities with the Club until the matter has been determined by the courts.

“The NBL and South East Melbourne will continue to review the matter and will take into consideration any decisions or directions made by the courts.”

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The decision comes after Creek’s lawyers were told his preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday, had been rescheduled for next month. 

Creek is contesting all charges. 

Basketball Australia’s Integrity Unit, which had reportedly done a preliminary investigation into the matter, will not hold its hearing panel until after the matter has been through the courts, the statement said.

Creek, whose NBL career began in 2010, had brief stints in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

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NBL, South East Melbourne Phoenix ‘deeply concerned’ over assault charges laid against Mitch Creek


The National Basketball League has revealed star player Mitchell Creek has been charged with assault offences.

In a joint statement released on Monday night, the National Basketball League (NBL) and Creek’s team, South East Melbourne Phoenix, said they were aware charges had been laid by Victoria Police.

“The NBL and South East Melbourne Phoenix are deeply concerned by the nature of the charges against Mitch Creek and take this matter extremely seriously,” the statement said.

“The NBL and South East Melbourne Phoenix have held urgent discussions with the Australian Basketball Players’ Association and Basketball Australia’s Integrity Unit in respect of the allegations.

“The NBL and South East Melbourne Phoenix also understand that Mitch Creek denies each of the charges and will deal with the matter appropriately through the court process.”

Creek will not train or play with the club until further notice, the statement said.

Basketball Australia’s Integrity Unit has also done a “preliminary investigation” into the matter, the statement said.

The statement did not detail what specifically Creek has been charged with, but said the matter was now before the courts.

Creek, whose NBL career began in 2010, had brief stints in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Victoria Police has been contacted for comment.

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NBL21: Mitch Creek dominant in South East Melbourne’s overtime Throwdown win against United


A pair of wounded Melbourne teams have treated the John Cain Arena crowd to an absolute thriller in the latest incarnation of The Throwdown.

South East Melbourne, powered by Kyle Adnam and Mitch Creek, spent the majority of the game in front, before a late flurry from Melbourne United forced it into overtime, the Phoenix then holding on for character-building a 97-92 win.

Before the game, South East Melbourne Phoenix’s social media crew tweeted “Anyone keen to fill in for our basketball team tonight?”

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United could have tweeted the same thing as both clubs went into the game with a host of stars on the injured list.

But it didn’t detract from the spectacle as the Melbourne reserve teams — led by their available superstars — traded blows in an entertaining affair, watched by Australian Test captain Tim Paine and former Aussie fast bowler Peter Siddle.

Phoenix forced the issue early through Adnam (15 first-half points). Creek then took over with 31 points and 10 rebounds, overcoming brilliant performances from United’s Jock Landale and Chris Goulding (22pts each).

Phoenix missed Keifer Sykes, Ryan Broekhoff, Dane Pineau, Adam Gibson and a sick Kendall Stephens, while there was no Scotty Hopson or Jack White for United, who also had to cope with minute restrictions for Goulding and Shea Ili.

It meant we were treated to the rare occurrence of no official import in either starting line-up — American Ben Moore came of the bench for the Phoenix.

Creek burst with pride after the game.

“We had our best player in Keifer out, Gibbo, who is a veteran leader and Olympian is out, Dane’s out, we got Kendall out, everyone was out,” Creek said on the ESPN broadcast.

“I know the club made a bit of a joke on Twitter beforehand, but our backs were against the wall.

“We showed some true heart tonight I couldn’t be prouder of these boys. Overwhelming sense of pride for the boys.”

Both teams had a chance to end the game in regulation, Landale short-arming his effort close to the hoop before Jo Lual-Acuil Jr produced a brilliant defensive effort to stop Mitch Creek from getting off a potential gamewinner.

After six straight OT points from clutch man Reuben Te Rangi, United had two chances to tie it, down 92-95. But Mitch McCarron missed a three that went out of bounds off a Phoenix hand and then Landale clunked one from the corner with 2 seconds on the clock — game, Phoenix.

United coach Dean Vickerman said it was tough to get rotations right with so many men out, but the loss to the cross-town rival had extra sting as it hampered his side’s chances of winning the NBL Cup.

“We talked about this being a semi final for us, so we needed to win this one to even give ourselves a chance to win this tournament,” Vickerman said.

“So for me, yep, we lost the Throwdown, but we also don’t give ourselves an opportunity to walk in that last game and have an opportunity to win the tournament. That’s what I’m most disappointed about.”

United closes its NBL Cup campaign against Illawarra Saturday evening, while the Phoenix back up Friday against Cairns, before a Sunday date with the New Zealand. The Taipans and Breakers have been the two worst teams in the NBL through nine rounds and South East Melbourne would have designs on taking all 14 available points to sneak onto the NBL Cup podium and take a slice of the cash.

BATTLE WITHIN THE BATTLE

It’s a treat every time Creek, Goulding and Landale step on the floor. The three Boomers were the best players on the floor for their respective teams.

Each possesses unique tricks in their bags, Goulding the clutch marksman, Creek the Phoenix everyman and Landale the inside-outside one-man wrecking crew. Every time United made a run, Creek was there to drill a three, make a tough bucket or find the open man (except when he drilled a bloke sitting in the front row in the face with an errant pass).

Landale is a massive handful for the league’s bigs and, when he wasn’t killing Phoenix in the post, he was flaring out to the three-point line and drilling deep jumpers.

Game on the line time is Goulding time and he had 10 fourth-quarter points to force the game into overtime. There’s a mutual respect between the Aussie stars, and for good reason.

KYLE’S BIG HALF

It will almost seem a shame when Adnam goes back to the bench. But it shows just how good this team can be, able to call on a guy who can put a team on his back and carry it for long stretches. Vickerman, who coached the veteran point guard when he was at United, knows him as well as anyone and, at halftime, said “Adnam’s been a problem”. Adnam is making shots, finding the open man and doing everything required of a starting point guard in the NBL.

HE GOT YUDAI-ED

Adnam isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to fall victim to the stifling defence of Japanese dynamo Yudai Baba. After halftime, Vickerman did make the adjustment, moving the toughnut onto Adnam and throwing the bigs at him when coming off screens. It worked, Baba providing another timely reminder of why he is one of the league’s best defenders — and showing why Phoenix does need Sykes back fit and firing.

WHEN WILL WE SEE ROWDY?

Ryan Broekhoff is as excited as the Phoenix family to get back out on the floor. Out of quarantine this week, the former NBA player and the club felt it was too early to play against United.

“I’m jumping out of my skin to get out there,” Broekhoff said on the ESPN telecast.

“We haven’t put a date on it, we haven’t put a game, it’s too early coming out, just two trainings and trying to jump straight into a game.

“We’ve just got to work through the next couple of games — maybe Friday, maybe Sunday — we’ll just see how the body goes.”

HEEEEEY, MIKEKARENA!

Little-used big man Mike Karena was forced into action when Yannick Wetzel got into early foul trouble. He provided a great stop back on both ends, helping himself to a couple of buckets and doing his best to negate the unstoppable Jock Landale. Karena, Wetzel, Te Rangi — a Creek favourite — and guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa form a strong Kiwi connection at the Phoenix.

INJURY LIST

Phoenix

Ryan Broekhoff (not ready) day-to-day

Keifer Sykes (ankle) day-to-day

Adam Gibson (calf) day-to-day

Kendall Stephens (sick)

Dane Pineau (back) indefinite

United

Chris Goulding (calf) and Shea Ili (ankle) on minutes restrictions

Scotty Hopson (adductor) 3-4 weeks

Jack White (finger) 3-4 weeks

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Perth Wildcats lose to Brisbane Bullets as Bryce Cotton, Mitch Norton pick up injuries


Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson has backed his star players to continue playing through pain after they fought to a 95-92 loss against Brisbane today.

Bryce Cotton hobbled his way through the game with an ankle injury, and that followed a corked thigh from Wednesday. He also finished the match with his arm taped.

Vice-captain Mitch Norton struggled with a back injury and needed treatment on the sidelines which kept him out of the action at key moments.

The Wildcats are in the middle of three games in five days, but Gleeson said Norton and Cotton didn’t take injuries into the match.

Their next clash is against Illawarra on Sunday and Gleeson said his players had little option other than to soldier on.

“We’re not like football that rest guys. We play,” Gleeson said.

“Obviously Mitch wasn’t 100 per cent. Bryce and Mitch are both soldiers.

“If they’re hurt and can’t play they are really hurt. They want to play. Bryce proved that last week when he was laid up for three days and came out and played a game.

Nathan Sobey dominated the game for Brisbane.
Camera IconNathan Sobey dominated the game for Brisbane. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“I think he had some ankle issues during the game. We’ll go through that tomorrow.”

Cotton still scored 29 points, including 16 in the final quarter, as he dragged the scores back to level pegging.

But Nathan Sobey starred for Brisbane with 31 points and Vic Law was influential with 23 points.

Todd Blanchfield and John Mooney both finished with 20 points each for Perth and Mooney also managed nine rebounds, but the Bullets won the rebounding 42-35.

Perth looked flat early and trailed by 11 points after less than four minutes. Gleeson said lapses of concentration proved costly for his team.

“We started the game 4-15 so that’s not a world we want to live in. Then we were playing catch up,” he said.

“I thought the guys played their hearts out and gave the effort and everything we wanted to do there. There were a few concentration issues on the glass and some bad rotations for us and silly fouls that took them to the foul line.

“It was a combination of those things but it was only three points. We gave the effort. We just need to improve our concentration.

“You’ve got to be on-point. Guys coming off the bench weren’t ready to shoot the ball and play. It’s disappointing in that part.”

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Cricket Australia vs New Zealand, third T20, live scores: Start time, stream access, Mitch Santner out, weather updates in Wellington


Australia has handed an international debut to Riley Meredith as it aims to keep its T20 series alive against New Zealand in the third match.

The tourists made one change in Wellington, dropping all-rounder Daniel Sams for Tasmanian quick Meredith, who was taken for $A1.42 million in the IPL draft.

New Zealand won the toss and Kane Williamson elected to bowl first.

Australia is 1-62 after 7 overs after Matthew Wade (5) edged to first slip off the bowling of Trent Boult.

Out-of-form Aaron Finch narrowly survived a DRS review for lbw on the first ball he faced.

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Mitch Marner and Jack Campbell step up for Maple Leafs with Auston Matthews down in Edmonton


Mitch Marner was just fine on his own Saturday night.

Playing without injured Auston Matthews, Marner stepped up with a power-play assist and then an even-strength goal in the first period, sparking the Maple Leafs’ 4-0 win over the Oilers in the opener of a pivotal three-game series in Edmonton.

Marner and Matthews have created arguably the NHL’s most deadly duo so far this season. But the good news for the Leafs — who continue to list Matthews as day-to-day with a suspected wrist injury — is that Marner is also pretty productive on his own.

While Matthews has mixed his tremendous shot and goal scoring ability with some tenacious defence, Marner continues to have an innate ability to make everyone he plays with better.

That was the case when he set up William Nylander on the power play for the game’s first goal. Marner then scored 73 seconds later, his 10th of the season. It was also his 10th multi-point game of the season, vaulting him into third place in NHL scoring behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Jason Spezza scored on a snap shot after a fake shot in the second period. In the third, Zach Hyman outduelled Darnell Nurse in a corner puck battle before scoring his fifth goal of the season.

This series was billed as a clash with first place in the North Division on the line. The Leafs, now six points up on Edmonton, guaranteed they’ll still be on top after the final two games of this series.

Goalie Jack Campbell, back after missing 13 games with a leg injury, worked well behind a solid defensive effort, stopping all 30 shots he faced for the Leafs’ first shutout of the season and the third of his career.

The Leafs are now 22-11-2 all-time without Matthews in the lineup.

  • Nylander’s hot: Nylander’s goal was the third in a row for the Leafs over two games. He now has eight on the season, three on the power play. He also has four goals and 14 points in 22 games when Matthews is not in the lineup. Nylander’s goal also snapped an 0-for-12 slump on the power play for the Leafs.
  • Johnny on the spot: John Tavares was assigned to the top line between Marner and Joe Thornton with Matthews out. Tavares assisted on both first-period goals and now has 167 points in 167 games as a Leaf.
  • Subtle moves: Two subtle plays created those first-period goals. On the power play, Thornton lightly cross-checked an Edmonton defender into the right post, not enough to draw a penalty, but enough to create confusion in the crease and a narrow hole for Nylander to fire in his goal. The second was a stretch pass from Justin Holl that sprung Tavares on an odd-man rush with Marner. A quick, backhand pass from Tavares set up Marner for the finish.
  • Piling up points: Spezza’s goal was the 952nd point of his career.

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  • Silent stars: Solid team defence kept McDavid and Draisaitl off the scoresheet: McDavid managing one shot on goal and two shot attempts through two periods. He was a minus-3 and has been held pointless in four games now this season. Edmonton entered the game 11-2-0 in the previous 13 games after starting the season 3-6-0. They had scored an NHL-leading 29 first-period goals.

  • Matthews update: Matthews skated on his own Saturday. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he continues to be day to day. Toronto plays Edmonton again Monday night. Matthews had missed one other game this season – a Jan. 22 tilt against Edmonton in Toronto, which the Leafs won 4-2.

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Mitch McConnell says he would ‘absolutely’ support Donald Trump in 2024



Less than a month after excoriating Donald Trump in a blistering floor speech, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he would “absolutely” support the former president again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024.

The Kentucky Republican told Fox News on Thursday there’s still “a lot to happen” between now and the next presidential election.

“I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” Mr McConnell said.

“There’s no incumbent. Should be a wide open race.”

But when directly asked if he would support Mr Trump again were he to win the nomination, Mr McConnell responded: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”

Mr McConnell’s remarks underscore an awkward balancing act he sought to maintain since Mr Trump lost the election, reflecting the reality that Mr McConnell’s own path back to power in the Senate hinges on enthusiasm from a party base that still ardently supports Mr Trump.

Mr McConnell’s comments come before an annual gathering of conservative activists that this year is expected to showcase Mr Trump’s vice grip-like hold on the GOP base.

Mr Trump, along with most other leading 2024 presidential prospects, are set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference, which will be held in Orlando this year due to coronavirus restrictions.

Mr McConnell, a regular at the annual conference, will not be on the program following his condemnation of Mr Trump.

The 36-year Senate veteran had an expedient relationship with Mr Trump while he was in office. He made a habit of saying little about many of Mr Trump’s outrageous comments.

But together they secured key Senate victories such as the 2017 tax cuts and the confirmations of three Supreme Court justices and more than 200 other federal judges.

Their relationship soured after Mr Trump’s denial of his 3 November defeat and relentless efforts to reverse the voters’ verdict with his baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the election.

It deteriorated further last month, after Republicans lost Senate control with two Georgia runoff defeats they blamed on Mr Trump, followed by the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.

The day of the riot, Mr McConnell railed against “thugs, mobs, or threats” and described the attack as “this failed insurrection”.

Still, Mr McConnell likes to pride himself on playing the “long game,” which was the title of his 2016 memoir. And his comments on Thursday may yet prove prescient.

Recently, Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, a longtime Trump opponent, predicted the former president would win the nomination if he ran again.

“I don’t know if he’ll run in 2024 or not but if he does I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination,” Mr Romney said during an online forum hosted by the New York Times.

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Western Bulldogs recruit Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is ‘outrageously talented’ says vice-captain Mitch Wallis


“It is probably going to be a little bit of a slower burn than most anticipate but he has certainly got the capacity to do it. It is just about getting a little bit bigger fitness base under his belt, then learning our system and how to impact games.”

Wallis said the competition for spots inside 50 would remain hot this season with Aaron Naughton, Josh Bruce, Josh Schache and Ugle-Hagan among the key options as well as ruck pair Tim English and recruit Stefan Martin.

He said his fitness levels are at an all-time high as he aimed to be more versatile so he could adapt to what the game demanded more easily.

Wallis said he was humbled to be elevated to vice-captain having had his resilience tested several times in his 151 game career. He missed out on playing in the 2016 premiership after he broke his leg late that season. He then contemplated a move to the Brisbane Lions as a free agent at the end of 2018 but remained. Then, midway through last year, he had his first child just 10 days before the family had to move into a hub on the Gold Coast.

The son of Stephen – who played 261 games with the Bulldogs – is rapt he has stuck to the task in the same colours throughout and the 28-year-old is looking forward to what lies ahead.

Bulldogs vice-captain Mitch Wallis, right, with skipper Marcus Bontempelli. Credit:Getty Images

“The footy gods played it the way they did and I am so glad I stayed at the club,” Wallis said.

Now he wants to help the Bulldogs improve on their performances in recent seasons after being bundled out of the finals in consecutive elimination finals. Having managed just one win in eight encounters with top eight teams in 2020 (they defeated West Coast) Wallis said the Bulldogs are aware they have work to do to be a contender.

“It’s just about the consistency and application across all areas of footy. We have a really good list and it is about preparing each week to play our best footy,” Wallis said.

“We have shown in the last couple of seasons that we haven’t played that well against top eight sides so a major area for growth is to bring that consistency against the sides that are top of the ladder.”

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Mitch McConnell Vs Trump: the fight for the Republican Party begins



When it comes to the mid-term elections McConnell will go up against Trump

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45th President Donald Trump excoriates Sen. Mitch McConnell


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – DECEMBER 9: President Donald Trump looked on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 4:00 PM PT – Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Former President Donald Trump broke his silence on his impeachment trial acquittal and took aim at the GOP establishment.

In a statement released by his Save America PAC on Tuesday, the 45th President said, “the Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm.”

Trump went on to slam the minority leader for losing the Senate in 2020 and not fighting hard for election integrity. He also took shots at McConnell’s family over their substantial Chinese business holdings.

This came after McConnell voted to acquit Donald Trump in the impeachment trial, but said he was responsible for the Capitol Hill breach.

“Former President Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty,” McConnell stated. “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.”

Donald Trump ended his statement with a plea to Republican voters, saying “this is a big moment for our country and we cannot let it pass by using third rate leaders to dictate our future.”

He also vowed to back MAGA primary challengers in the 2022 midterms.

MORE NEWS: Manhunt Underway For Person Of Interest In Murder Of Yale Grad Student



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