Hungry Jack's NBL
Perth power pair ink new deals
The Perth Wildcats have announced two big parts of their Championship front court will be staying with the team in 2016/17 and beyond. Matt Knight has inked a two-year deal and will play his seventh and eighth seasons for the Wildcats, while Jesse Wagstaff has also significantly extended his contract with the club. Knight is arguably one of the most important pieces of the Wildcats puzzle. The 204cm, 109kg big man has played in four Grand Finals for the Wildcats, winning championships in both 2014 and 2016. “I’m really pleased to be staying in Perth,” said Knight. “Coming off another championship, we really have a rare opportunity to build a special legacy at the Wildcats and I want to be a part of that.” In 2015/16, Knight enjoyed a relatively injury-free season, totaling eight double-doubles while averaging a solid 11.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per outing. Meanwhile, Jesse Wagstaff remaining at the Wildcats makes him one of the most loyal players in club history. The 29-year-old has played all 217 of his NBL games with the club after joining the team as a rookie in 2009. His contract has now been extended by two years, which will see him remain a Wildcat until at least the end of the 2018/19 NBL season. Wagstaff was outstanding in the recent 2016/17 campaign, averaging 9.3 points and 4.0 rebounds off the bench while becoming a championship player for the third time. He is excited to be remaining in Perth. “I’ve been here for seven years now and over that time we’ve been pretty successful and kept a pretty close core. I think that stability has been a big part of our success,” he said. “Being a one-team player does mean a lot to me, it’s kind of all I’ve known. I guess it’s nice to be with that one organisation and it’s something I’m pretty proud of.” Perth Wildcats assistant coach Adam Forde explained the importance of re-signing these two core players. “They’ve established a good history here, not just on the court but they’re a big part of the team chemistry off the court,” he said. “Those two guys really compliment each other. Jesse, with his outside range, can really stretch the floor and shoot the three and Matty’s still one of the best back-to-the-basket dominant bigs in the league. “To have those two back really ticks a lot of boxes for us."