“It was such a long time ago, now that it’s almost in the past,” he said. “We’ve addressed it a little bit as a group does a while ago when we thought we were going to be playing in December, but time has healed that wound.”
His concern now lies with the truncated preparation had by NSW teams ahead of the season start due to the border restrictions.
The Kings and the Illawarra Hawks have been based in Albury for three weeks and will play their games on the road for the first part of the season at least.
Despite the off-season being the longest in NBL history, the NSW teams were only able to play two trial games due to the border issues.
“It’s going to be interesting for us,” Newley said. “We haven’t been home for almost a month now. There’s a lot of distractions or obstacles that have been in our way for the past period of time but I think as a club and a group, we’ve really embraced that.”
The Kings lost both star player Jae’Sean Tate and coach Will Weaver to the NBA with Andrew Bogut retiring from the game. The Sydney side will also be without Xavier Cooks, who will spend a significant chunk of the season on the sidelines due to a foot injury.
The Sydney Kings made Qudos Bank Arena their fortress last year, but Newley said the squad hadn’t given up hope in being back shortly.
“What the pandemic and the world’s taught us now is just expect the unexpected and that’s how we’re doing it,” he said.
“If we hold our breath and think about getting home all the time, I think that’s not the way to go about it. The mentality is, Cairns is our home at the moment, next week it could be Adelaide, it could be Brisbane who knows.”
Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.