Hard work about to be rewarded

Angela Ruske. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Angela Ruske. PHOTO: ODT FILES
It has been a long time coming.

When the Otago Nuggets finally take the Edgar Centre court against the Wellington Saints on Saturday night after a seven-year absence, there will be all sorts of memories swirling around.    

The big crowds and successes of the 1990s in the freezer-dome.    

The teams that battled with little success through the 2000s.    

The five years in the wilderness following Basketball Otago’s financial issues in 2014.    

Last year’s fairy-tale return and the side lifting the trophy after an intense final at the Showdown.    

And for some — several years of hard work behind the scenes to get the team up and running.    

It was 742 days ago the Nuggets submitted their expression of interest in returning to the league.    

That may seem a long time ago.    

But for Nuggets general manager Angela Ruske, it has time that has gone very quickly.    

‘‘Some of it feels a while ago, especially when I have to go back and refresh my memory,’’ Ruske said.    

‘‘The last year has absolutely flown and the last four months have been a bit of a blur.    

‘‘I certainly didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I’d have to say.

‘‘It’s been a really valuable experience for me and my own personal development. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.    

‘‘It’s been really nice to see it all come together.    

‘‘It’s nice to see we’ve got such a great team culture this year. It makes it all worthwhile when you know what you’re doing is appreciated.’’    

Ruske said establishing a base of people to help with the operation had been important.    

That had been significant in terms of branding, securing partners and getting on top of all the administration work that needed to be done.    

Plenty of volunteers had been significant.    

Game-day preparation was another component to which the franchise has recently had to turn its hand.    

While last year’s return in Auckland had been an ‘‘excellent launch’’, this year brought its own challenges.    

Hosting games and not having the NBL looking after many of the logistics as it did last year made it a far bigger operation.   

Ruske is hopeful of a sellout crowd on Saturday night.    

‘‘There’s obviously, little bits and pieces that need to be sorted out.

''The team’s ready, I’m excited to see them on the court and I think it’ll be an absolutely brilliant.’’  

Saturday’s game tips off at 7.30pm.

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