Blanchfield joins Wildcats
283 game NBL veteran Todd Blanchfield has joined the Perth Wildcats on a two-year deal.
The 28-year-old forward, who spent the previous two seasons with the Hawks strengthens the dual reigning champions roster, the Wildcats having lost star Nick Kay and four-time championship winner Rhys Vague to overseas leagues in recent weeks.
Blanchfield told Sports Drive on Monday that while there were offers from other NBL clubs, it was a simple decision to sign with Perth.
“The Wildcats are a very successful organisation, they’re probably the front runners as an organisation in the league,” he said.
“Trev (Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson) gave me the opportunity when I was 17 back with the Crocs (the now defunct Townsville Crocodiles). He gave me my first opportunity to come in to the league and be a development player and see what it’s all about.”
“I’ve got an enormous amount of respect for the way he coaches his teams and the way he goes about his business. This opportunity was a little too much to pass up.”
Blanchfield, who averaged 13.3 points per game last season for the Hawks also has a link with current Wildcat Mitch Norton, with the two former teammates at the Crocodiles.
The Mackay native hopes to play a similar role to a star Wildcat of recent seasons.
“Something along the lines of the way Terrico White played last year, come off screens, shoot the ball, just be aggressive when the ball comes my way,” Blanchfield said.
“Hopefully I can get the ball where I can be offensive, I think I can hopefully be able to help the guys. Ultimately at the end of the day everyone is out there to win games, and for the Wildcats push for that three-peat.”
The now five club NBL stalwart was expecting to play for Rockhampton in North Queensland in the NBL1 North season but will now prepare for a delayed NBL season start which is set down for the first week of December.
He said the break could be a blessing in disguise.
“It has given my body a chance to heal from little niggles, that’s something that’s been really beneficial for me. I have been back in the gym working out again now,” Blanchfield said.
“It’s also given me that hunger again. It’s something you do every day and you love so much, it gets taken away you can’t do it and it kind of brings back that hunger and really brings back that urge to go back to work and continue doing what you love.”
Blanchfield is set to link up with his new club and team mates in the coming weeks, while the Wildcats look to finalise their roster through the free agency period which ends on July 29th.
IMAGE: NBL website.