NBL BATTLES #4 – Mark Worthington Vs Tony Ronaldson

NBL BATTLES #4 – Mark Worthington Vs Tony Ronaldson

This season the NBL has done a great job remembering the glory days of the NBL this season, showcasing the NBL’s rich history with terrific events like the NBL Heritage Round and Townsville’s 25th Anniversary were special to say the least.


Here at Aussie Hoopla we thought we should continue with that thought and we decided to compare some of the NBL’s finest talent from today with some of the NBL’s all-time legends and see who our readers thought would win a battle between these players if they ever had the chance to go head-to-head?



NBL BATTLE 4 - Worthington Vs Ronaldson

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Mark Worthington has many similar attributes to Tony Ronaldson. Both can play either forward spot, are strong rebounders and are deadly from long range. Worthington has held down the forward spots for the Australian Boomers for over half a decade and Ronaldson did the same the decade prior to that. In fact Worthing holds the unique achievement of being one of the very few people who have played for the Australian Boomers before playing a game in the NBL. He was NCAA Division II Player of the Year whilst at Metro State at Denver, is an NBL Champion (2009) and whether he has played with the Sydney Kings, South Dragons, Melbourne Tigers or Gold Coast Blaze he has brought immediate success with him. Despite being considered a veteran in today’s NBL, Worthington is nowhere near the experiance “The Bear” Tony Ronaldson achieved, considering Ronaldson holds the record for most NBL games played almost tripling that which “Wortho” has achieved. Worthington is only 28, with many years ahead of him. He is a huge locker room presence and leader and it is only time which stands in the way of him earning another title in this league.


GAMES: 221                             PTS: 15.4                                   

REBS: 6.3                                 FG: 43.1%

ASTS: 1.7                                 3PT: 34.0%

STLS: 0.9                                 FT: 73.8%

BLKS: 0.7                                 TO: 1.9


Tony Ronaldson was a winner, there can’t be any doubting that. He retired the winningest player in NBL history with the most career wins ever, as well as having 5 Grand Final appearances. Although never a particularly athletic player, Ronaldson’s incredible basketball intellect and gritty work ethic kept him in the league for 21 seasons. Ronaldson had a very good college career at Arizona State before becoming a stalwart for Melbourne teams from 1990-2001, playing for the Eastside Spectres, South East Melbourne Magic and Victoria Titans (usually under Brian Goorjian) before setting off to finish his career with Perth and New Zealand. He will be forever remembered for his four-point play in the final seconds of the 1996 Olympics push the Boomers past Croatia and into a bronze medal match-up. Although Worthington is still reasonably young at 28 and will have the opportunity to match Ronaldson’s achievements, some he may have to concede, as it is quite likely Ronaldson’s amazing games played record will never be broken. “The Bear” has two titles but Worthington has one title and time on his side. Worthington may have the edge currently in career statistics but consider the fact that when Ronaldson was 28 he held averages very similar to Worthington, that of 16.3ppg, 5.4rpg and 2.7apg contrasting Worthington’s current 15.4ppg, 6.3rpg and 1.7apg.


GAMES: 665                              PTS: 10.3                                   

REBS: 5.2                                  FG: 42.0%

ASTS: 2.7                                 3PT: 34.6%

STLS: 0.6                                  FT: 70.5%

BLKS: 0.3                                 TO: 1.9



NBL BATTLE 3 - Redhage Vs Fisher

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Shawn Redhage is power forward who when he became a naturalised Australian he represented the Boomers at the Olympics, not to mention the fact he also played a very important part in a Wildcats Championship (2010)… just like Scott Fisher. These two men share many similarities both as men and as players. Redhage arrived in the NBL after a stint in the second-tier SEABL and became one of the select group of imports who have been able to transition from SEABL to the NBL. He is known as “Mr Do It All” and that was never more obvious than in 2006 when he became the only player in NBL history to have at least 30 points and 15 assists as part of a triple-double (he also had 11 rebounds). He is gifted with an incredible basketball savvy despite having limited athletic ability and yet he still finds ways to score 30 points on any given night. He was a part of the NBL first teams in 2008 and 2010 and fans admire his consistency, dedication and hard work, all of which was never more evident than his game saving block against CJ Bruton in Game 2 of the 2012 NBL Finals. He hasn’t quite the achieved the same amount of accolades as Scott Fisher yet, but at 31 still has a enough time to mount an attempt to catch him. He is a true NBL Iron-Man who is slowly coming towards the end of his career but we hope to enjoy watching him for at least a few more seasons.


GAMES: 232                             PTS: 18.3                                   

REBS: 6.9                                 FG: 50.7%

ASTS: 3.0                                 3PT: 36.3%

STLS: 0.8                                 FT: 76.4%

BLKS: 0.6                                 TO: 2.8


Scott Fisher was a beast in the early years of his career and In 1989 by winning the NBL Title (North Melbourne 1989) and the MVP in the same breath… he was the NBL. He was known throughout his career as consistently doing work (similar to Redhage) but by averaging 32 points at 55% from the field and 13 rebounds a game during that season, no one could top him. Fisher was named part of the NBL first team from 1989-1992, he won two more titles with Perth (1995, 2000) and would win another MVP just for good measure in 1992. Playing up until the ripe age of 43, perhaps his biggest highlight was simply suiting up for the National team at the 1996 Olympics where it’s said he was the proudest out of all the Boomers players to be an Australian that day. Scott Fisher played more games at Perth (247) then Redhage has in his career. It’ll be hard work for Redhage to get his number #42 next to number #30 in the Perth rafters, but with one title already and maybe another one by the end of the week… at this stage in his career he is on track.


GAMES: 417                              PTS: 22.1                                   

REBS: 9.9                                  FG: 51.6%

ASTS: 3.0                                 3PT: 38.6%

STLS: 1.4                                  FT: 83.9%

BLKS: 0.2                                 TO: 2.7



NBL BATTLE 2 - Abercrombie Vs Mackinnon

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Thomas Abercrombie has possibly been the fastest improving player in the NBL across the past three seasons. His vertical leap enables him to out rebound players much taller than him and throw down some of the most vicious dunks in the NBL today and these abilities draws the comparison to an NBL Legend, the man they called “Slammin” Sam Mackinnon. Abercrombie spent one year at Washington State in the NCAA but limited playing time saw him sign with the New Zealand Breakers in 2008 and he has been a big key to their success ever since.  This season was particularly strong for Abercrombie, a year which included a 33 point, 11 rebound effort that earned him the player of the week award in December. NBA teams too have taken notice of Abercrombie’s rapid improvements, it’s reported that the Breakers have spoken with several NBA teams during the season about his progress and Abercrombie now has every chance to become the third New Zealander to make the NBA after Sean Marks and Kirk Penny. At 25 he is already an NBL champion, a NBL Finals MVP and a starter on New Zealand’s National Team, Abercrombie is only just starting to show what he is capable of… Hopefully he remains in the NBL for a while for us to enjoy it.


GAMES: 102                             PTS: 10.7                                   

REBS: 4.4                                 FG: 45.2%

ASTS: 1.4                                 3PT: 39.5%

STLS: 0.7                                 FT: 69.6%

BLKS: 0.7                                 TO: 1.3


Sam Mackinnon took the NBL by storm during its heyday by winning Rookie of the Year in 1994 and being on every Sunicrust Bread Packet, Coca-Cola Can and Vita-Brits box across the country. His 2006-07 season is arguably the greatest statistical season ever in the NBL. That year he averaged 18.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 blocks while shooting 55% from the field. This was enough to allow him to become the first player ever to win the Defensive Player of the Year, MVP and Finals MVP in the same season as he took him his 2nd NBL Championship (Brisbane). Mackinnon was a massive part of the Boomers squad from 1996-2008 and whispers of the NBA surrounded Mackinnon his entire career. In 2007 he trialled with a number of teams but ultimately could not win a contract. At 25 “Slammin Sam” already had a NBL Championship (South East Melbourne 1996), just like Abercrombie, and was averaging 13.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game (Remember these stats are in 48 minutes games, not 40 minutes like they are today).  Clearly Mackinnon is one of the Legends of our game, but if they met on the court at the same age, who would win the NBL Battle?


GAMES: 459                              PTS: 17.4                                   

REBS: 7.8                                  FG: 50.4%

ASTS: 4.2                                 3PT: 34.7%

STLS: 1.6                                  FT: 56.4%

BLKS: 1.1                                 TO: 2.2


NBL BATTLE 1 - Khazzouh Vs Bradtke

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Julian Khazzouh has been the best big man in the NBL ever since he returned Down Under from playing in Isreal in 2009. He has had brief flings with the NBA including playing pre-season games for the Golden State Warriors in December combined with the rumors that he is being watched by a number of NBA teams for a potential NBA spot next season. He has won All-NBL First Team Centre whilst being in the top three in MVP voting for the past two seasons. Khazzouh is a much more agile player with a better dribble then Bradtke, he also has perhaps the deepest three-point range of any Aussie Big Man (remember the three-point line has extended much futher then Bradtke’s time) all whilst doing it in 40 minute games instead of 48. Even though the Kings ‘Big Man’ made his NBL debut in 2004, he is still only 26 years of age, and clearly has his best basketball in front of him.


GAMES: 129                            PTS: 13.3                                   

REBS: 8.1                                FG: 48.7%

ASTS: 1.3                                3PT: 25.7%

STLS: 0.7                                 FT: 69.4%

BLKS: 1.6                                TO: 1.7


Mark Bradtke is without doubt the most dominant NBL big man of all-time. He was the NBL’s All-NBL First Team Center from 1999-2005 and won the award a staggering 10 times all up. He is the NBL’s all-time leading rebounder and has an MVP (2002) and 3 NBL Championships beside his name (1993, 1997 & 2007). He also had a brief fling with NBA life which included playing 36 games for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996/97. At 26 both men had similar resumes, Bradtke had 0 Championships, 0 MVP awards and 1 All-NBL First team and averages of 16.5ppg and 10.9rpg. Bradtke’s legacy has no equal in the NBL, but at age 26, the same as Julian Khazzouh, who would get the best of whom?


GAMES: 554                            PTS: 17.4                                   

REBS: 11.3                              FG: 53.4%

ASTS: 2.3                                3PT: 25.7%

STLS: 0.7                                 FT: 66.4%

BLKS: 1.4                                TO: 2.5



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Dan BoyceAuthor: Dan Boyce (348 Posts)

Dan Boyce is a die-hard Sydney Kings fan who grew up in Melbourne during the roaring 90’s of Australian Basketball and spent far too much time collecting Futera NBL Basketball cards