Aussie player’s new role builds stronger Ipswich Force
REPRESENTING Australia at next year's Tokyo Olympics is still on Nathan Sobey's radar with everything going on.
But before seeing what international opportunities arise, he's happy training with the Brisbane Bullets and helping Ipswich Force in this year's Queensland State League (QSL) competition.
Sobey, 30, signed with Force earlier in the year to play in the inaugural NBL North 1 series.
When the competition was delayed 12 months due to the coronavirus, Sobey decided to look after his young family and take some time out.
But true to his commitment to Ipswich, he was keen to return once the revamped QSL season was launched earlier this month.
"It's really good to be back playing basketball and I'm really enjoying my time there,'' Sobey said.
"The club has been really good to me and my family and welcomed us.
"They are a great bunch of blokes as well that make it a lot easier and fun to play with.''
Sobey and his wife CC have a daughter Harley, who has just turned one.
That played a large part in his decision to stay in Queensland and gain some extra NBL off-season game time with Ipswich.
"With everything that was going on, I thought it was the smartest decision to stay in Australia and really stay in Queensland and in Brisbane,'' he said.
"With the young family and stuff, I don't think it was safe to take the little one over to Europe, especially when all this was unfolding.
"It was a good decision in the end.''
Sobey has played in all three Force games so far. He hopes to join his new teammates for Saturday night's QSL match with Logan at JBS Stadium, depending on his Bullets commitments.
"I think it's just going to be like that throughout the season,'' he said of being cleared to play each weekend.
"We've got training and stuff that we have to attend with the Bullets . . . and just monitoring our loads. And especially at the moment you don't want to go through the roof just yet, just getting back into things.
"Right now, it's just about looking after the body as we ease back into it.
"It's probably just week by week on how my body is reacting to getting back into it.''
The 2021 NBL season is scheduled to start on December 3.
As for the Boomers, Sobey is waiting to see what happens in coming months.
"It's sort of an unknown. Nothing is really going ahead at the moment,'' he said.
"They are finishing their season in the NBA and all that sort of stuff right now we don't know what to plan for.
"We'll just sit by and stay in shape and look after ourselves.''
Sobey clearly wanted to play for Ipswich when he can, like other Bullets teammates doing the same in the QSL.
The Australian shooting guard said he only met the Ipswich players before their first game against the Brisbane Capitals.
He led the way, featuring in a nailbiting four-point play with seconds remaining to guide Ipswich to victory.
"Not too many four-point plays (three point and free throw) happen but it was definitely an exciting one being the first game of the season and being with Ipswich,'' he said.
Although he's still learning Ipswich's defensive and offensive plays, he's excited to assist the homegrown talent in this year's Force side.
"That's one of the things that I've been trying to work on over the last few years - on my leadership and all that sort of stuff,'' he said.
"So it's definitely a great chance to tuck into that even more so and I'm just happy to be playing with the guys at the moment and doing all I can to help them get better.
"As an organisation, to get better as well.''
Saturday night's Ipswich v Logan men's and women's games are sold out under the capped number of spectators.
Saturday at JBS Stadium, Booval
QSL Division 1 women (5pm): Ipswich Force v Logan
QSL Division 1 men (7pm): Ipswich Force v Logan