Kilsyth Cobras and Ballarat Miners go head-to-head in our game of the week, plus we preview every match.
Game of The Week – Kilsyth v Ballarat
Saturday 15th August- 8:00pm @ Kilsyth Sports Centre
Securing a playoff spot in the South Conference last week, the Kilsyth Cobras can still nab a home final with a sweep of the final round but their task will not be made easy against the Ballarat Miners who must win to ensure fourth place in the East Conference.
Prior to Round 17, Kilsyth had failed in their conference clash with Bendigo while dropping three straight games.
Heading out on the Tasmanian road trip was a daunting task but the superb effort of Kyle Adnam (25 points, five rebounds, four assists across the weekend) saw the Cobras take care of Hobart to own the head-to-head advantage against their closest rival.
They then secured their playoff spot and staked their claim as a legitimate contender with an 89-78 win over N-W Tasmania as Tim Lang (22 points, five rebounds) and Jackson Brazier (12 and 6) hit the scoreboard alongside Adnam.
Ballarat was clinical in a must-win clash against Nunawading last round, leading by 11 at quarter-time before fighting off a late charge with a 24-9 fourth term.
The victory saw them leapfrog the Spectres into fourth place and also gain the head-to-head advantage over them. With Nunawading facing Mt. Gambier this weekend, the odds are now certainly in the Miners’ favour.
The point guard battle between Booker and Adnam is sure to be scintillating viewing on Saturday night as they combined for 63 points on 22-39 shooting when these sides met in Round 3.
Kilsyth was comfortable 22-point victors but Lang and Auryn MacMillan (a combined 32 points and 12 rebounds) will have their hands full with Gregory Thondique who missed that clash but has averaged 17.7 and 9.5 since joining mid-season.
Prediction: Ballarat by 6
Friday 14th August –
Bendigo v Brisbane
Meeting for the first time in the last round of the season, Bendigo will look to take a winning streak of six into their Qualifying Final against Mt. Gambier next week while celebrating Taylor Bell’s 300th game. Brisbane has won three straight but must shut down Tony Lewis whose five consecutive double-doubles have him firming in the MVP race.
Hobart v Frankston
Hobart’s season was ended by Kilsyth last weekend but they can take confidence from their nine-point defeat of Frankston from Round 13. A tough finish to the season for the Blues sees their 0-10 road record put on the line in the Tasmanian road trip.
Geelong v Kilsyth
A sweep of the round will secure second position in the East Conference for Geelong but one victory will also be enough as they own the head-to-head advantage against third placed Dandenong. A tough weekend for the Cobras will be the perfect preparation for the playoffs as they look to overcome their nine-point loss from Round 4 to the Supercats when Nathan Herbert shot 9-11 for 26 points.
Saturday 15th July –
Canberra v Geelong
Backing up less than 24 hours after their home game, Geelong’s fate rests in their own hands but they are just 1-4 on the second night of a back-to-back this year. A win could see Canberra get off the bottom of the East Conference and they will be buoyed by their Round 8 clash when Ben Allen and Nnaebuka Anyaorah combined for 45 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in a three-point loss.
Dandenong v Brisbane
After losing two of their past three games, including an uncharacteristic defeat at the hands of Canberra last weekend, Dandenong could finish anywhere from second to fourth in the East Conference while they currently sit third. This is Brisbane’s last chance to record a road win this season while they are also 0-5 on the second night of a double-header.
N-W Tasmania v Frankston
To earn a home final, the Thunder must win as they are behind in the head-to-head results against fourth placed Kilsyth but they have dropped three of their past four and only got past the Blues by a point in Round 7. Frankston has an average losing margin of 20 points away from home and will be desperate to end their season on a high note after dropping six straight.
Albury-Wodonga v Mt. Gambier
In a possible preview of the Grand Final, neither side can lose top spot in their conference so they may play their cards a little closer to the chest than normal. The Bandits will be without Daniel Sepokas who suffered a season-ending elbow injury last weekend and his 14.5 points per game and defence on Tom Daly will be sorely missed. The Pioneers may have shown they are already thinking ahead to the playoffs with a loss to Geelong last weekend.
Sunday 16th July –
Nunawading v Mt. Gambier
Seemingly sitting pretty at the end of Round 13, Nunawading had four more wins than fifth placed Ballarat but a loss to the Miners last weekend has all but ended their finals hopes. They must steel themselves for a victory against the best team in the league but need Simon Conn at his best after he played just 14 minutes last weekend.
Sandringham v Dandenong
The Sabres have been far better on the road than at home this year and would love to give their fans a rare victory before the regular season ends. They did beat Dandenong by three in Round 10 but with a double-chance in the playoffs possibly on offer, the Rangers should have too much to play for.