Geelong Supercats and Dandenong Rangers go head-to-head in our game of the week, plus we preview every match
By Grant Richardson
Game of The Week – Geelong v Dandenong
Saturday 25th July- 8:00pm @ The Geelong Arena
With a game separating the East Conference’s top team in the Geelong Supercats and third placed Dandenong Rangers, first position could be on the line alongside the all-important head-to-head result.
Geelong did what they needed to against Brisbane last weekend in a very tight contest, winning by seven. The offensive and defensive rebound numbers were even, while assists and turnovers were separated by just one, but the Supercats’ 40% field goal shooting proved the difference.
Dandenong sent a message with a 114-85 demolition of fourth-placed Nunawading, winning every quarter. Five players scored 15+ with Chuck Long (22 points and five assists) and Daequon Montreal (15 and 11 rebounds) starring.
Andrew Harms also added 21 points including 5-6 three-point shooting but was absent from the Round 5 clash when the Rangers fell by 22 to Geelong.
Against a stacked front-court that saw Montreal and Long combine for 40 points and Lucas Walker (10 and 12 rebounds) record a double-double, Kimmani Barrett was exceptional with 28 points while Eric Gaff shot 7-9 from the field for 15 points. Gaff’s recent form would be a concern for the Rangers as he is averaging 10 and 12.4 boards in his past five games.
The inclusion of Harms will make a major difference as it should give Dandenong the advantage in the back court while the caliber of both teams’ forwards will make for a high-scoring contest. Overcoming the 22-point margin from the last meeting is likely out of reach for the Rangers though which will keep the Supercats above them on the ladder even in the event of a loss.
Prediction: Dandenong by 2
Friday 24th July –
Hobart v Mt. Gambier
Hobart are wedged in the middle of three teams fighting for fourth position in the South Conference with fourth placed Kilsyth a game ahead while Sandringham sit a game behind in sixth. They must overcome two straight losses when hosting the league’s best team in the Pioneers, who will be on the road for the first time since Round 10.
Saturday 25th July –
Brisbane v Kilsyth
Trailing by 13 at half-time last weekend against Albury-Wodonga, Kilsyth fell just short after a second half comeback. The defeat denied them a chance to gain some breathing space on the fringe of the top four but they will take confidence from their Round 13 seven-point win over Brisbane. The Spartans will play their next three matches at home where they have won all their games this season.
N-W Tasmania v Mt. Gambier
This could be N-W Tasmania’s best chance at ending Mt. Gambier’s 14-game winning streak as the visitors will be playing a back-to-back for the first time in over a month. Tyrone Lee’s numbers are slightly down compared to his time at the Thunder but he is still having a great season and will be looking for a big game against his old club. These sides will battle again next week in a likely double-feature preview of the South Conference final.
Bendigo v Canberra
Although Bendigo sit third in the South, a 73-115 thumping by N-W Tasmania last week showed they have work to do if they are to threaten in the playoffs. Canberra must keep winning to keep their slim hopes of a finals berth alive as they are four games behind with five games to go. In a Round 6 meeting, Ben Allen’s 28 points and 11 rebounds were countered by Tony Lewis (26 and 14) as the Braves won by five.
Ballarat v Albury-Wodonga
With six matches remaining in their season, Ballarat are running out of time and although they beat Canberra last week, their 1-4 record against the East Conference top four does not bode well as they prepare for second placed Albury-Wodonga. The Bandits would like their chances of finishing top two as only one of their last five matches is against a current finalist.
Sunday 26th July –
Frankston v Ballarat
The Miners’ season could be on the line in this contest but they will be buoyed by a 35-point smacking of Frankston from Round 4 when Roy Booker and Anthony Fisher combined for 52 points. The Blues have dropped three straight and give up a league-worst 51% field goal shooting while the visitors are the best shooting team in the league at 50.8%.
Nunawading v Canberra
Even if the Gunners were to win the night before, Nunawading could officially end their playoff chances here with a victory. They were 17-point victors in Round 7 when Delwan Graham (25 points and 13 rebounds) owned the front court but Allen has the ability to contain him. Shane McDonald (13 points and 12 assists in that clash) looms as the difference-maker.
Sandringham v Albury-Wodonga
Sandringham fell to Mt. Gambier last weekend but backed it up with a 100-69 trouncing of Frankston to keep their finals hopes alive. That was the third time this season they have reached the century mark and although keeping pace with the Bandits, who average four more points per game, will not be easy, a win could potentially put them in the top four at round’s end.