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Henare: Injury crisis disrupted pre-season

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/10/2016 Angelo Risso

<span style="font-size:13px;">Breakers boss Paul Henare&nbsp;</span> Breakers boss Paul Henare  Breakers boss Paul Henare admits his side's pre-season injury crisis will leave some rotations underdone when the Australian NBL begins on Friday.

The 2015/16 runners-up take on the much-fancied Melbourne United in this season's curtain opener after a winless pre-season marred by injuries.

Star guard Corey Webster struggled with back and hip complaints, while swingmen Kirk Penney and Tom Abercrombie had their own injury concerns.

New import Ben Woodside also experienced a niggling issue with his heel.

Monday's training session marked the Breakers' first full-squad practice of the pre-season, with almost all of the side finally declared fit.

Only guard Shea Ili remains on the sidelines with a back problem and has been replaced by Australian Isaih Tueta on a short-term deal.

Henare told reporters the injuries had limited his side's ability to build chemistry and combinations in play.

The timing of playing rotations would also have to be improvised in Friday's match against United.

"That's the one thing we haven't been able to really solidify with our forward group, what the rotations will look like," Henare said.

"It's something we'll have to figure out on the fly."

Melbourne United, who fell to the Breakers in last year's semi-final despite finishing first on the ANBL ladder, appear the team to beat again in 2016/17.

The Victorian side have strengthened an already formidable playing roster with the signings of former Breakers guns Cedric Jackson and Tai Wesley.

The pair will add championship-winning experience to a line-up which occasionally lacked a Plan B last season.

Henare acknowledged the two United acquisitions would look to use their inside knowledge of the Breakers to their advantage.

They would also help the side push towards the top of the table again in 2016/17.

"That's what you do, you change teams and play against your old team, and you give up any relevant information you can," Henare said.

"It's something in all pro sports."

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