Melbourne United have hit back at Taipans manager Adam Forde’s claims that they used questionable tactics against Cairns star Keanu Pinder. SEE AND VOTE.
Melbourne United have dismissed claims by Cairns manager Adam Forde that the club’s defensive tactics endangered the health of Taipans star Keanu Pinder.
Forde fired a broadside after the 27-year-old injured his left ankle in Cairns’ 84-81 defeat by United last week and was ruled out of the Taipans’ New Year’s clash with Adelaide.
But in a statement, United Forde hit back, saying every star in the NBL needs to handle close attention.
“Melbourne United rejects comments made by Cairns Taipans manager Adam Forde in the media following United’s victory in the open air game,” the statement read.
“The best player on each team is subject to extra defensive attention, but when an opposing coach suggests our players are intent on injury, that’s disrespectful and just plain wrong.
“Melbourne United players and coaches pride themselves on playing right and have a clear history of doing so.”
Forde said the frustrated MVP candidate was being “treated like a scrub” and targeted United’s rough treatment, picking out import Rayjon Tucker and workaholic Mason Peatling for mid-game incidents.
“Melbourne’s opening possession made it clear where Tucker left his man and Keanu was shouldered off the ball,” Forde said.
“(Later) He has an undisputed dunk, Mason Peatling is completely outplayed and eventually goes under him and the result is a no call, I’m cautioned for my behavior on the touchline and now Keanu’s foot is in the boot.
“Regardless of what the officials call it, the result is that Keanu is getting up off the ground and that’s putting his ankles at risk, that’s putting his health at risk.”
United manager Dean Vickerman said his charges have been playing by the rules and Pinder’s rapid improvement means he needs to adapt to clubs who need to invest more time in curbing his influence.
Watch every game of the 2022-23 NBL season live on ESPN on Kayo Sports. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
“Keanu is a really good player who’s had a great year and the attention he’s going to get just keeps getting bigger,” Vickerman said of Pinder, who has 18 points and 10 rebounds on 50 percent shooting in NBL23.
“Just like any great player that comes through our league, they have to get through this. I thought Jock Landale went through a similar period (when he was at United).
“Keanu kicked our butt the first few times we played them and of course we paid special attention to him but we certainly do everything legally and we would never want a player to get injured.
“If your strength is your speed and your athleticism then people are going to clog those areas and that was certainly the game plan for us to try and take some of his place away from him and I thought we did the right thing. ”
In 15 games in NBL23, Pinder drew over 5.2 fouls per game and shot nearly seven per game.
In the last two he has received only two whistles and scored two free throws in total. Forde can’t understand why and urged the umpires to protect his star, even going so far as to suggest Pinder may be at a crossroads where he needs to secure his basketball future.
“I’m asking for protection for Keanu out there because they (opposing teams) make no secret of him being attacked… and the reality is he’s so dynamic and so athletic and so gifted that they don’t have anyone who necessarily.” would be able to defend him one-on-one,” Forde said.
“If the message is that nobody will protect him, then he has to think about what he will do for his future.
“His career may take off and it will be financially rewarding for him, but there’s a degree to how much he wants to jeopardize that knowing that some of the tactics teams are using to defend him could shut him out for the rest of the time Year?”
Pinder’s absence leaves a huge hole in the slumping Snakes’ Big Man stocks as the rolling 36ers aim to further embed themselves in the top six with a fourth straight win.
*** Cairns Taipans, 10-7, fourth vs. Adelaide 36ers 10-8, sixth
New Year’s Eve, Saturday 31 December, 7:30pm ACDT, 8:00pm AEDT, Cairns Convention Center
Originally published as NBL News 2022: Cairns coach Adam Forde is furious with the players and referees’ treatment of injured MVP candidate Keanu Pinder
https://www.codesports.com.au/basketball/nbl/nbl-news-2022-cairns-coach-adam-forde-fumes-over-player-refs-treatment-of-injured-mvp-candidate-keanu-pinder/news-story/472c874da84460634135d3bc53f2b96b?nk=90f32f953a202c5c2d9da8471bf6448c-1672455128 NBL Basketball News 2022: Cairns coach Adam Forde slams Melbourne United defensive tactics on Keanu Pinder