Supercats Fall in Herbert’s Milestone Game

Nathan Herbert came agonisingly close to playing the hero in his 300th game, missing a buzzer beater as the Geelong Supercats fell 87-89 to the Ballarat Miners in their season opener.

Trailing by as much as 12 in the first half, the Supercats fought back to take the lead with 57 seconds remaining on a Kimmani Barrett jumper. Roy Booker then broke the hearts of the Geelong faithful with a three point dagger but the door was left ajar with 19 seconds left.

Nick Owusu and Herbert both had chances to send the match into overtime but came up empty on their attempts before the clock ran out. Despite the disappointing finish, Herbert still had a positive influence on the match, collecting 14 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

Since arriving at the club in 2002, Herbert has played at least 17 games each season after his rookie year. Predominantly a shooting guard, his remarkably consistent stroke is what has enabled him to stay at the top of his class, shooting 41% from the three point line, 47% overall and 85% from the free throw line.

The Supercats have participated in the playoffs every year since 1998 but had just one Championship to their name when Herbert signed on. His inclusion immediately saw Geelong return to the Grand Final, finishing Runners Up that season.

By 2005, the dynasty was in full force as the Supercats won three consecutive Conference Championships. During that three-peat, the guard averaged 17.6 points at 49% shooting, increased his career assist average from 1.9 to 2.9 and won the Youth Player of the Year award.

This string of success was followed by Herbert’s greatest personal season in 2008, which saw him make the All-Star Team for the second time. He finished fourth in scoring (23.3 points per game), first in free throw percentage (89%), first in three point percentage (43%) and eighth in field goal percentage (51%).

Aside from being a talented scorer, his effort on the glass at both ends cannot be overlooked. In that 2008 season, he also finished in the top ten for rebounds which included 3 offensive boards per game.

If this season goes to script for Geelong, most of the talk will be about the return of Kimmani Barrett sparking them to another Championship. However, the hard work of their veterans in Herbert, Owusu and Jamie Medved (who will both tally 300 games by mid-season) is an underrated and often overlooked piece of the Supercats make-up.