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Wounded Magnay battles through Game 5 to claim first NBL Championship

31 Mar
4 mins read

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via NBL.com.au

Will Magnay has praised the faith kept in him by the JackJumpers following his first quarter injury.

After two injury-hit seasons, Will Magnay looked to have finally shaken the injury-prone tag that had plagued him since his return to the NBL. Then, in the biggest game of the season, the star center went down.

Tasmania was already without Marcus Lee for its decisive Game 5 clash with Melbourne due to a knee injury, and when Magnay hobbled to the locker room early in the first quarter with a hamstring issue, it looked to be an equation of small ball or bust for Scott Roth and the JackJumpers.

Magnay returned to the game though, and he ended up having a decisive impact on a seesawing game that was calling out for someone to create a moment, and that moment belonged to Magnay.

Just over halfway through the final quarter Magnay backed down in the post against Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. He turned, rose, and slammed a dunk home over his United counterpart and the onrushing Luke Travers. The scores were levelled, and the JackJumpers never looked back.

“It was a dogfight. They’re a hell of a team and every player was backing down, it was physical, it was hard, but something just clicked,” Magnay said on the Coca-Cola Cool Down.

“Things started going right for us and we just capitalized, and they missed some open looks late, so there was a bit of luck on our side as well.

“I think you get what you deserve in sport, and we’ve been working so hard prepping for a Game 5, and it was kind of poetic we got here and we were able to get it down. It was amazing and there are so many emotions right now. It’s a hell of a time.

“I don’t really remember the fourth, I was just going into half-time trying to stay warm, because it (hamstring) was locking up on me. Drmic was trying to talk to me and I was just like ‘don’t talk to me, I need to try to black out’.

“The boys just kept putting faith in me and I could stay on one leg and try and dunk it.”

Magnay ended the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, and while every player who hit the floor had to step up to lead Tasmania to victory, no player did more so than Jordon Crawford in the early stages of the game.

The diminutive guard had 18 points at quarter-time as he bore the brunt of the scoring load for a JackJumpers side that was struggling to click into gear. After all his struggles throughout the post-season, the import guard stood tallest when it mattered.

“I didn’t really realise what was happening, I was battling my hammy and was focused on myself and I look up and he’s got 18 in the first,” Magnay said.

“I looked up and it was like ‘oh my God, what a freak’. He’s had his struggles this post-season, everyone’s been dogging him, but we’ve been staying with him and pushing him, and it was amazing for him to have a performance like he had tonight. We love him, we love what he brings to the group. He’s so dynamic and fun to watch.

“What a player.”

With a maiden title in hand, eyes will now inevitably shift onto how Tasmania can back up its success next season.

Magnay is a key piece the club looks set to once again build around, having signed a two-year deal earlier this season, and he says there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.

“The support we get is just amazing, and why would you not want to play for a club like this, with a group like this, and under a coach like Scott?

“It’s been an amazing three years, and hopefully we can continue for the next couple.”

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