Grafton Vikings new coach Nathan Martin.
Grafton Vikings new coach Nathan Martin.

Viking Martin into hot seat

THE Grafton District Services Club Vikings commence their State Basketball season this Saturday with a tough opening encounter away to rivals the Coffs Harbour Suns.

The Vikings will boast a new look team for their 2010 campaign with a new coach and four fresh faces added to the line-up. Nathan Martin takes over as head coach after the departure of long-time coach Craig Howe.

After playing in a number of successful Vikings teams over the past 12 seasons, Martin has been Vikings assistant coach for the past two seasons and has coached junior Vikings teams for 10 years.

“I’m looking forward to coaching at a senior level and I think we have a great group of players that will be more than competitive this season,” Martin said.

This Saturday’s game against the Suns will feature former NBL player Matt Shanahan.

Shanahan, who played in more than 400 NBL games and won three championships, was signed by the Suns in the off-season as a development officer and in a bid to increase their playing roster.

Shanahan was a league journeyman having played for nine NBL teams.

Over the past four seasons the Vikings have had the wood on the Suns with the Vikings taking out their past twelve games.

However, with the loss of the league’s leading big man Sean Murphy and point guard Nathan Ainsworth in the off-season, the Vikings will be looking to their youth in Sam Wicks and Anthony Kopcikas as well as new recruit Scott Frewer to fill in the big holes left.

The Vikings will also be without the services of captain Matt Moran and veteran Danny Boorman who are both unavailable for this game.

After a successful pre-season where the Vikings lost just one game - the grand final of the inaugural Prawn Bowl carnival in Yamba - the Vikings will be looking to continue this good form.

“The team had a pretty good pre-season and have trained really well. Hopefully they can overcome the loss of Matt and Danny for this game and record a win, but it won’t be easy,” Martin said.

The Vikings are seeking sponsors for their State and Youth League teams. Contact the Vikings in 2010 at the Grafton Sports Complex on 6643 1188 or graftonsportscentre@bigpond.com.



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