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Goulding comes home

Melbourne United star Chris Goulding feels like the Australian Boomers clash with the New Zealand Tall Blacks at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night is his own “homecoming”. While Basketball Australia have used that term as the slogan for the Rio Olympics qualifying series, for Goulding it has a more personal meaning as it will be his first proper game back home in Victoria after spending the last year playing in Spain. The 26-year old has rejoined Melbourne United for the 2015/16 NBL season, returning to the league in which he made his name with a 50-point game and many starring performances in his previous three-year stint in the city. Goulding came to Melbourne needing to prove his talents as a starting guard and he did that in spades, eventually earning two NBA summer league tryouts and a promotion to the Boomers’ squad for last year’s FIBA world cup. “This has been my home for three or so years and will be my home again for the coming season so the “homecoming” tag sits well with me,” Goulding said this week. “This game will probably be one of the biggest games I’ve been involved in.” The Boomers have named a side filled with NBA elite such as Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova while the New Zealand side features proven stars Corey Webster, Mika Vukona and Thomas Abercrombie. What both nations can’t deny is their strong ties to the NBL with the majority of players on both rosters having previously played in the league and coaches Andrej Lemanis and Trevor Gleeson (AUS) and Paul Henare and Pero Cameron (NZ) having played and/or coached at NBL clubs. Goulding joins Adam Gibson (Adelaide 36ers) and Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats) as current NBL players named to the original Boomers line-up, while the door was opened for Cameron Gliddon (Cairns Taipans) today as an injury replacement for Martin. New Zealand boasts a strong NBL Championship-winning flavour, with Vukona, Webster, Abercrombie, Reuben Te Rangi, Shea Ili and Tai Wynyard (New Zealand Breakers) all set to suit up for the Tall Blacks in the series. As the most recent NBL star to move into international basketball, Goulding said he and other NBL players know they have a chance to prove to a wider audience how talented players at NBL level are. “It’s good for us to be a part of it and it shows to the general public the high level the NBL is at,” Goulding said. “We don’t get as much recognition as the NBA guys and that’s rightfully so but if we can go out there and put on a good show then it will do a lot for the credibility of the NBL. “Basketball fans in Australia know how good the product is and the league is so it will be good for the general public to get a look at that.” Goulding is focused on his Boomers’ duties for the next week as the team looks to beat the Tall Blacks and qualify for next year’s Rio Olympics. But he is excited to get out on court with Melbourne United for pre-season training and build towards the upcoming season, which begins on October 7. Above all, Goulding knows a good season in the NBL will impress Lemanis and his coaches ahead of Olympic selection next year. “There is a longer term plan and obviously that is Rio,” Goulding said. “We will try to put our best foot forward, qualify in this series and then do it all again next year.” GEM will show Saturday night’s game at 8.30pm while Sky Sports New Zealand will broadcast Game 2 of the FIBA Oceania series from Wellington on Tuesday 18 August, 2015.
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