The Final Whistle – Talent Reaction

You can take the boy out of Warrnambool, but you can’t take Warrnambool out of the boy!

One of the biggest news stories of this young Big V season emerged earlier this week when the Warrnambool Seahawks announced favourite son Nathan Sobey would be suiting up for some games back at his home club, starting with this weekend’s home clash against Western Port, and perhaps on the road against Warrandyte.
 
No doubt the first reaction to this news came from the Steelers and Venom when they headed to training and collectively quizzed each other as to who had walked under a ladder, broken a mirror or come across a black cat?
 
Down on the south-west coast the news of Sobey’s return created a massive buzz, as it should. The recently crowned Commonwealth Games gold medalist has enjoyed a fantastic rise into the Australian national team via an exciting season in the NBL with Adelaide.
 
Sobey’s return to his home team on the water’s edge is a huge boost for the Seahawks and you can be assured some massive crowds will be flocking to The Arc to see their golden child in action, and hopefully for more than a few games.
 
What is disappointing is some of the stupid commentary that has emerged, especially by the keyboard warriors who think they know everything, saying that Sobey’s decision to represent his home club is a bad move. Why is it a bad move?
Firstly, the Warrnambool association have made sure to tick all of the boxes from competition headquarters, by adhering to those rules implemented by member associations:

Under Big V Rules of Operation, Nathan Sobey is eligible to play and is considered a restricted Category B player under “An NBL/WNBL player who averaged greater than 50% of available court time in the past NBL/WNBL season”.

As per Rules of Operation 4.1.1 (D) a team can have a maximum of two restricted players with no more than one player from either Category A or Category B, and Sobey as Warrnambool’s Category B restricted player will join their Category A import Xavier Blount in their roster.

Giving back to your local community should be commended, not canned. The kids in Warrnambool, some of who no doubt have dreams and aspirations of playing for the Seahawks, in the NBL and with the Australian Boomers will get to see their local hero in action. 
 
How can that be bad thing? This is what sport is all about.
 
Sobey’s not silly, he has his future contracts in place. Clearly he wants to give something back and I for one applaud him for doing so.
 
I get the whole money argument, the career risk that comes with playing at a lower level, but perhaps get all the facts before just jumping to a position of criticising the guy. Athletes at the elite level usually take out top level health insurance, they understand the importance of looking after and covering their most important asset. 
 
But the talk of career, injury and risk aside, which by the way can come with crossing the road these days, what a fantastic decision by Sobey to give back, to support his junior club, and one that has been such a huge part of his young life.
 
Chances are he’s also donning the Seahawks uniform for no payment, or very little payment. This is a guy who loves his heritage and is passionate about his home town. How refreshing.
 
I say thumbs up to you Mr Sobey. Congratulations on showing us all that despite reaching great heights via your skill and athletic ability, you also have the dignity and humbleness to appreciate and respect how you got there. Warrnambool is understandably proud of you.
 
Nathan Sobey is a Seahawks guy for life and it’s great to see that when he gets the chance to visit his home town he doesn’t hesitate in pulling on his favourite uniform.
 
The Final Whistle has blown!  
The Final Whistle is an opinionated column written by staff writer Justin Nelson. All views in this article are expressed by the author and may not be those of the Big V.
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