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Helu back for Sharks after 'gap year'

Johnny Helu is back in orange. After an impressive 2021 NBL campaign with the Southland Sharks, Helu chose to stay in his hometown of Wellington, playing for the Saints last season.

Following what he describes as a good “gap year,” Helu said the decision to sign for his second Sharks’ stint was largely due to the relationships he formed two years ago.

“The people made it an easy decision to come back. I loved my time in Southland, it was like a second home to me. My partner (netballer Aliyah Dunn) is from down here and I have been keeping in touch with the people I connected with in my first year,” Helu said.

He also brings with him the experience of playing under new Sharks’ Head Coach Guy Molloy.

“It’s great having a good relationship with Guy. I think we both have a little bit of unfinished business after last year at Saints. After breaking my hand I am keen to make an impact out on court and do everything I can to help the Sharks get back to where they want to be,” he said.

Molloy is just as happy to renew his coaching relationship with Helu.

“Johnny is a really talented kid and a great person, so he perfectly fits our mantra of bringing in high quality people. He’s got a lot of upside. He really impressed me when I coached him last year in Wellington with his ability to get downhill and attack the rim really hard and I think he’s going to emerge as a high-level player in the League,” Molloy said.

The Southland Sharks open its 2023 Sal’s NBL campaign on Good Friday (April 7) at 7:00pm against the Manawatu Jets at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill. Season tickets to all nine home games are on sale now from Stadium reception with individual game tickets available from next month.

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