Perth Wildcats have been handed the opportunity to re-launch sport in WA after the border opens, with the NBL scheduling a clash against New Zealand at RAC Arena on February 6.
With the WA border set to open on February 5, the Wildcats would fly home from Tasmania that day for home matches on February 6 and 10. The second game is against Cairns.
The team departed WA on December 27 and has experienced multiple COVID-19 match cancellations, including last week due to 13 Wildcats testing positive to the virus. They will resume against Adelaide on Tuesday and then finish their time interstate under a revised fixture with matches against Illawarra on January 22 and 27, and a clash with Sydney on January 30.
Vice-captain Mitch Norton said the Wildcats had refused to focus on negatives.
“When you’re away from home, you’d like to be playing games. We haven’t been able to do that and we haven’t really been able to train,” he said.
“As we’ve seen over the last couple of years, the teams that deal with everything thrown their way — COVID included — the teams that deal with that the best come out on top or close to it. We’re kind of just rolling with the punches.”
Norton revealed he is one of the lucky Wildcats to avoid contracting COVID-19 and said he used the extra time between games to rebuild his fitness after two months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Having only returned on New Year’s Eve, Norton said continuing to train had been crucial.
“It’s been really handy for me obviously coming back from injury. To be allowed out and train and get a lot of reps under my body and into my legs has been fantastic,” Norton said.
“We’ve had a number of coaches who have been allowed to be there with me. The sessions have been based around what I ideally need to get back to where I want to be and help this group win. It has been fantastic in terms of that.
“When you have a number of coaches like that, the amount of reps you get between you and another player, is quite a lot. There’s not a lot of time to rest. That’s been handy for me and also the other player as well to get that conditioning going. The one-on-one individual aspect has really helped my fitness.”
REVISED PERTH WILDCATS FIXTURE ROUNDS 8-11
Saturday, 22 January: Illawarra Hawks v Perth Wildcats at WIN Entertainment Centre
Thursday, 27 January: Illawarra Hawks v Perth Wildcats at WIN Entertainment Centre
Sunday, 30 January: Sydney Kings v Perth Wildcats at Qudos Bank Arena
Sunday, 6 February: Perth Wildcats v New Zealand Breakers at RAC Arena
Thursday, 10 February: Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans at RAC Arena