South East Melbourne star Mitch Creek suggested rugby, not basketball, may be a more appropriate sporting option for Mason Peatling after being crudely body-checked by the Melbourne United forward during Sunday’s ill-tempered NBL derby.

After taking offence to Creek celebrating a thunderous dunk over Matthew Dellevadova, Peatling sprinted in and collected the Phoenix talisman in the jaw with a shirtfront, sparking an all-in melee during the Phoenix’s 94-86 win.

Creek received a technical foul for taunting Dellevadova and teammate Izayah Le’Afa copped an unsportsmanlike foul for his role in seeking retribution on Peatling, who was ejected from the match.

“I looked up, got a shoulder to the face and after that I was like ‘that’s not okay’,” Creek said when interviewed post-match by ESPN.

“We don’t play basketball that way, I’m never going to let anyone play that way … that’s not how you play basketball.

“We had a hyped situation, plenty of yelling and screaming leading into that, but there’s no need to check someone.

“It’s not rugby, it’s basketball. If you want to play that way, they can f***ing play that way.”

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell took aim at the NBL’s challenge system, insisting Melbourne’s acting captain David Barlow should have been ejected for leaving the United bench as the melee broke out.

“I’ve got a question for the reviewing panel,” he said.

“I see Dave Barlow approach the fracas off the bench.

“Don’t get me wrong, Dave was being a peacemaker, but I don’t think he should have been allowed to play any further part of the game because of that.

“Our guys kept their cool, stayed on the bench and did the right thing.

“I want answers to that.”

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman disagreed, maintaining Barlow didn’t do anything wrong.

“From my understanding, you’re allowed to leave the bench if you just go grab a teammate and separate the fight,” he said.

“I’ll be interested to see how the referees review the whole situation.”

Vickerman didn’t weigh in on whether Creek’s post-dunk celebrations were warranted but did receive an apology from Peatling for his ejection.

“I’m not going to make a statement about whether what Creeky did was right or wrong,” Vickerman said.

“Mason thought it was disrespectful and gave Creeky a little bump there and all the boys came in.

“He has already approached me and apologised to say ‘I saw my teammate getting disrespected and I’ve got to be better in how I counter that one without getting thrown out of games’.”

‘It’s not rugby’ – Creek after NBL melee
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