SEABL Grand Final Preview

SEABL Grand Final Preview Podcast

Two of Victoria’s Basketball elite will lock horns in the SEABL Women’s Championship game for the first time Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Nunawading Stadium.  Kilsyth and Nunawading are two of the most successful and proud Club’s in Victorian Basketball.  Both long serving members of Australia’s Premier Winter Basketball Competition, Kilsyth holds two SEABL Titles since the League’s inaugural year (1990) and Nunawading are yet to win one.

In what has been an emotional and often challenging year for all involved with the Kilsyth & Mountain District Basketball Association, the Lady Cobras efforts have lifted the spirits of an entire  community who will be riding every basket come Saturday night.  When Club father figure Hugh McMenamin passed away earlier in the year the Club and especially the Lady Cobras, including Hugh’s daughter Erica, could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel. Instead the Lady Cobras have made a remarkable run through the SEABL playoffs, defeating Launceston on the road, followed by an overtime victory over the 2006 & 2007 SEABL Champion Bendigo Lady Braves.

As the free throws continued to roll out for Bendigo in last Saturday’s preliminary final it was obvious that Hugh may have been helping his beloved Lady Cobras into the 2008 SEABL Grand Final.  This could have been no more evident than when Erica McMenamin made a crossover dribble at the top of the key, with 14 secs remaining and her team down two, she drove to the basket and made the equaliser sending the game into overtime.

As emotions flowed following the game, the Lady Cobras realised they had returned the Club back to the Final for the first time since 2003.  An effort no one would have expected prior to the season, no one maybe expect Hugh.

Kilsyth go into the match against the inform team of 2008 which include WNBL star Jenna O’Hea, fellow National League players Caitlin Caitham, Zoe Carr and Kristy Parker and not to miss former Cobra Jodie Datson and league veteren Julie Tan.

This All-Star line up are coached by former Kilsyth Coach Mike Bainbridge, who led the Lady Cobras to their first Title back in 1998, and will be a difficult match up for Kilsyth. 

Kilsyth will need Clare Papavs and Sarah Parsons to be major contributors at both ends of the floor as they have been all year, while WNBL star Desiree Glaubitz will continue to cause trouble for Nunawading as she consistently does. The entire Lady Cobras line-up has troubled the League all year with their evenness across the board but the keys could be Erica McMenamin and Gemma Kerr, having been here before, they will play a vital leadership role throughout the match.

These two great Club’s and rivals will take to the court Saturday night at 7.30pm for the sellout Grand Final.  Only time will tell who can be victorious but both teams will give their all in their quest for glory. 

Nunawading Spectres vs Club Kilsyth Lady Cobras

Saturday 9th August    
7:30pm @ Nunawading Stadium

Referees – Linda Shelton & Mark Connor

Victorian Basketball heavy weights Nunawading and Kilsyth battle for the title of best SEABL Women team.  Kilsyth made their way to their fifth Grand Final after a come from behind overtime victory at Bendigo last week.  Lady Braves struggled at the foul line and the Lady Cobras took full advantage and recorded a 74-70 win.  Kilsyth also defeated Launceston on the road in week one, and will go into this contest full of confidence despite having not beaten Nunawading this season.

Kilsyth will rely heavily on youngsters Papavs, Parsons and McMenamin at the offensive end, and will be guided by the experienced Desiree Glaubitz.  

This provides the opportunity for Import Jessica Lonon and Hayley Moffatt to step up and provide the team with quality productivity.  Both players have shown the capabilities to dominate a game throughout the season and will need to be at their best this week against the Spectres.

Nunawading have a WNBL quality starting five with Cunningham, Carr, Parker, Datson and O’Hea starting most games, and the experience and individual play of all these players has troubled the Lady Cobras in both previous games.  All five players average a combined 83.5pts against Kilsyth this season, meaning a solid defensive effort is required by all Kilsyth players.

Nunawading has only had one previous appearance in a Grand Final, losing to Bendigo in 2000 and 300 Game Inductee Julia Tan and Cristy Parker were the only current Spectres in this team.  After celebrating a huge personal milestone earlier this season, Julia Tan is determined to finish a memorable season on a high note.  Tan has played in two Grand Finals and is yet to secure a Championship, and will be determined to make it third time lucky.

Likely matchups that will impress the crowd:

Jenna O’Hea (18.6ppg, 8.3rpg, 3.7apg) vs Clare Papavs (16.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 2.2apg)

Both players play pivotal roles for their respective teams, and have many years of experience despite their young age.  Jenna has had a sensational year and a major contender for MVP accolades.  Papavs has been a consistent performer for the Lady Cobras all season and is a key player for her team.  All eyes will be on her to contain the talents of O’Hea and guide the Lady Cobras to the Championship.  O’Hea did not play the round five clash between the two teams but dominated in round 16 with 27pts, 9rebs, 2ass and 2blks.  Her efforts will need to be contained by Papavs if the Lady Cobras are to secure the win.

Caitlin Cunningham (16.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.1apg) vs Sarah Parsons (13.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 5.1apg)

Two of the leagues best youngsters will be in a frontcourt duel, likely to impact on the games final outcome.  Parsons has played as an undersized four man all season, and wont be intimated by the height of Cunningham.  Parsons the leagues best defensive player will be asked by Coach Knight to produce another high quality game against the athletic Cunningham.  Caitlin struggled in Spectres round 16 victory as Parsons limited her to only 5pts.  

2008 Head to Head –       Spectres 84-64 at Nunawading (rd5)

                                       Spectres 100-89 at Kilsyth (rd16)

SEABL Champion will host the Central Champion and the SEABL Runner Up will travel to face the Big V Champion in the first round of Australian Basketball Club Championships commencing 23rd August.