MELBOURNE—Network 10 has confirmed that the MasterChef franchise will be expanded to include a one-off special featuring several NBL referees.  The working title for the special is “NBL Referees Speciality: Home Cooking”.  
“We always wanted more of a focus on home style cooking, but weren’t willing to repeat the Julie experience,” producers of the hit show revealed.

The news comes in response to a recent viewing of the NBL by Ten executive Bill Smith. “Put simply, I was impressed by the quality of the home cooking,” Smith said. “I haven’t seen that kind of home cooking and clearly biased officiating since last year with Julie.”

The viewing was serendipitous for Ten and the NBL. “Usually I’d prefer to watch repeats of The Nanny than watch basketball, but I thought I'd give it another go after accidentally watching a few minutes of NBL action last week when Townsville played in New Zealand ,” Bill Smith told our source. 

“I hadn't watched the sport in years, but I flicked to it at the moment that the commentator said something involving a whore and a penetration and a homicide. You know what channel 10 executives are like: any sexual reference or act of violence will grab our attention as part of our desperate and cheap grab of the youth market.”  

“Turns out the commentator was referring to a player called Stephen Hoare moving closer to the basket with the ball after receiving a pass from Corey Williams.”

“'Hoare penetrates," Smith repeated with a chuckle. "That phrase alone was intriguing enough to stop me from changing the channel for the next few minutes. If there were more players with names like that, maybe we’d be interested in covering the NBL as a sport.”

In response to this news, Basketball Australia CEO Larry Sengstock urged any club to entice David Stiff, Braith Cox and Willie Simmons out of retirement.  Sengstock is believed to be in the process of drawing up his next pitch to network 10 which involves the promotional phrase "Hoare plays with Stiff, Cox. Rillie."

Last night's game lacked the same quality of sexual references, but Smith remained interested in the telecast when he noticed that "one of the commentators seemed to get aroused when the Tigers made their run." 

This attracted Smith's attention just enough to allow him to notice the standard of officiating. “It was the degree of biased officiating that really impressed me. It made me see the potential for a MasterChef spin-off involving NBL referees,” Smith noted.

“The referees dished it up and the crowd loved it.”

Smith immediately alerted the MasterChef crew to assess the coverage. Upon viewing of the replay, MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris were equally impressed.

“We understand more than anyone how the pressure of being on national television under bright lights can affect your usual judgment,” Calombaris admitted. “But we also understand that the officials should rightly be the centre of attention. They understand, as do we, that pleasing the viewers is more important than a fair and even contest.” 

“They plated up the home side win beautifully,” fellow Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan added.
MELBOURNE—Once the darling of the Australian men’s national team, Melbourne Tigers guard Luke Kendall has suffered yet another serious blow to his chances to once again represent Australia at a major international tournament. Kendall is believed to be devastated by the news that Basketball Australia has confirmed that they will not reinstate Brian Goorjian as coach of the national team.  

“My international career is officially in tatters,” Kendall admitted. “Despite reaching the age at which I should be peaking, gaining a spot on the 2010 World Championships team is looking increasingly unlikely.”

“Why am I so unlucky?" Kendall despaired. "Being a part of this insipid Tigers team is bad enough as it is."

In news that will have less of an impact on Kendall's Boomers team selection chances, Kendall will miss the rest of the 2009/10 season after suffering a knee injury during training.

Meanwhile, rumours are circulating that Kendall is feigning his injury to avoid having to be part of the most unsuccessful Melbourne Tigers team since the 1980s. "The recruitment of Hodge sealed his decision to fake the injury," a source within the Melbourne Tigers camp claimed. "Who'd want to train with that fool?"
Hodge mistakes court as Monopoly board?
MELBOURNE—Melbourne Tigers import Julius Hodge is involved in yet another pay dispute, this time with his new club. Hodge is demanding extra salary for playing the overtime period during the Melbourne Tiger’s win in Adelaide on Saturday night.

Hodge is threatening to sit out of Melbourne’s next game in Cairns on Friday night if the pay dispute is not promptly settled. He is also demanding a “publicity bonus” for his controversial actions and an “entertainment bonus” for his comedic skills in training.

Melbourne Tigers co-owner Seamus McPeake is understood to have presented Hodge with a gigantic novelty cheque to the value of “5000 mad props” as a compromise.

Meanwhile, Hodge is preparing his defense for the impending NBL tribunal hearing after provocatively stomping on the centre-court signature of Adelaide legend Brett Maher, inciting the loyal home crowd in the process.  After showing no remorse for the incident, Hodge needs to consider options that will validate his actions.

According to leaked documents obtained by The Bball Scoop, a list of possible excuses include:
-    Hodge “mistook Brett Maher’s signature for Brad Davidson”. The documents claim that not only did Brad Davidson “defame” Julius Hodge in his personal blog, it claims that a precedent has been set by the NBL several years ago which effectively allowed the stomping on of Davidson. In this notorious incident, Paul Rees avoided any significant penalties after he stomped on the back of Brad Davidson.
-    Hodge “mistook Ray Hunt (pictured above) for the Monopoly man and was merely trying to ‘pass go’ and collect his $200”. Without any conspicuous “go” signage, Hodge targeted the nearest thing, the signature of “go-to” man Brett Maher.

In related news, former Adelaide 36er Paul Rees has contributed further to the barrage of criticism directed at Julius Hodge. Rees, an expert stomper, described Hodge's attempt at stomping as “resembling his favourite food, chicken”.
PERTH—Self-conscious National Basketball League fan Harry McCray has succumbed to peer pressure by standing and clapping at the start of Saturday's Perth Wildcats home game.  In what has become a trademark tradition of Perth Wildcats home games, the crowd stands and rhythmically claps until the home team scores.

Usually proud of his nonconformist tendencies, Arts university student McCray said he couldn’t resist the overwhelming pull of the strong herd mentality present at the venue.

“Now I know what the Germans felt like during the Nazi era,” McCray said after the emotion of the occasion had subsided.

“It felt dirty and humiliating, but everyone was doing it,” McCray said. “It’s like my body was operating on automatic without any connection to my brain.  It must be like what Julius Hodge experiences all the time.”

“But there was a part of me that enjoyed it. As Katy Perry said over the sound system during the halftime show, ‘it felt so wrong, it felt so right’.”

Having finally overcome his momentary act of ashamed conformity, McCray was able to soberly summarise the experience using his usual undergraduate facetiousness. “Let’s all act like mindless lemmings, shall we?”

“Of course, I will wear red next time,” he added sarcastically.

The act of a crowd standing and clapping until a score at the beginning of a period of play is not unusual in sports arenas, but the Perth Wildcats peculiarly reverse the usual practice by continuing to do so until the home team scores, rather than an away team score.

“So they put extra pressure on their own club to score?” McCray offered, bewildered. “What if the away team starts with a 10-0 run? What, they’re going to continue clapping like fucking morons?”

“That is just plain retarded!”

McCray, a former Sydney native and Kings fan, has recently moved to Perth to study at the University of Western Australia after failing to secure a place in a more prestigious university.

“This kind of peculiarity would have never happened at a Kings game," McCray said. "We didn't believe in crowd participation in Sydney.”
MELBOURNE—Following months of speech therapy, Australian basketball legend and Fox Sports commentator Andrew Gaze has successfully pronounced the surname of Wollongong Hawks veteran forward, Glen Saville.

For years viewers have been irritated by Gaze's apparent refusal to correctly pronounce 'Saville'. Despite everyone else in Australian basketball circles pronouncing it otherwise, Gaze continually opted more towards the English pronunciation of the Spanish city of the same name. To address the issue, Fox Sports subjected Gaze to a series of tests to determine the cause of the problem. Months of speech therapy soon followed.

"Sah-veel. No, wait a second, I can do it this time. Sa-vuhl. There, I did it!" Gaze proudly exclaimed to his somewhat relieved Foxsports crew, before adding "go Tigers!".