War of words rattles Breakers

THE New Zealand Breakers will head to The Cage in Melbourne tonight but it has already been rattled after a war of words.

New Melbourne coach Trevor Gleeson has questioned new Breakers guard and former Tiger Daryl Corletto's motives for quitting this season after 10 years with the club, saying he chased a lucrative offer in New Zealand and hadn't been honest with the Tigers about his dealings with the Breakers.

Corletto took umbrage with Gleeson's comments, saying they were complete rubbish, and said they had provided plenty of motivation not only for himself but his Breakers teammates this weekend.

Gleeson joined Melbourne this season after six years with Townsville.

"[Those comments] were disgusting coming from someone who has been there three weeks," he said. "I have been there since I was 12 years old.

"I played juniors there growing up and to read that yesterday was tough.

"We will move on and use it on Saturday night. I thought it was disrespectful. They said I was allowed to leave if I wanted and this opportunity came up to come to the Breakers so I jumped at it."

The arrival of Boomers guard Patty Mills, who will play with Melbourne until the end of the NBA lockout, squeezed Corletto out of the playing roster and prompted the Tigers to suggest he was welcome to look around for another club.

The 30-year-old was on the verge of joining Cairns before a chance meeting with Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis in Melbourne. An offer from the North Shore-based club arrived 36 hours later.

Corletto has received plenty of support from Melbourne since the comments from Gleeson, including about 300 messages on his Twitter account saying fans there would be donning black T-shirts and supporting the Breakers tomorrow night.

His former teammates have also sent messages of support.

"I can tell you they're not real happy," Corletto said. "I'm pretty close to a few of the guys and they're not happy with how things have been handled over there. Now I have left and seen the other side I'm telling them to get out [of Melbourne] as well.

"We get told over there it's a family club but it's definitely not. It's been very surprising [how easy it's been fitting in at the Breakers]."

Corletto has fitted seamlessly into a Breakers side with a perfect three wins from three games, despite having to play all three games across the Tasman. The shooting guard is averaging 7.3 points a game coming off the bench, including 16 in the 91-68 defeat of Sydney last weekend.

He has a good shot from outside, and landed four of six three-pointers against Sydney, but isn't trying to replace Kirk Penney, who was instrumental in leading the Breakers to last season's NBL title.

"I am a little piece of that," he said. "There have been other players brought in with Kirk leaving ... One guy can't fill Kirk's shoes. It's multiple guys ... If we can make it four in a row this weekend, that would be great."

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