2018 Division 1 Grand Finals

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Christopher McMichael

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Well, Grand Final night unfortunately didn’t go as planned. Not from lack of trying from the men, women or the awesome supporter group. I have to say the supporters were AMAZING and certainly gave it everything to try and lift both teams over the line. In my opinion I think you guys were BOG for the night! The Blacks roar was EPIC.

The men got out there first at 7.30pm and despite a gallant effort fell short against a talented Tigers
team 83-73. The Tigers held a lead for most of the game, but credit to our boys they fought hard, getting ahead by 3 at three-quarter time. It was a tight tussle in the fourth as we traded buckets, but the Tigers strung a few together and pushed the lead out to 7 with 3 minutes to play and our boys just couldn’t pull it back. The Tigers stretching it to 10 points to take the premiership. A cracker game and a fantastic effort by our Blacks Men to not only get into the Grand Final but also push the Tigers to the last quarter. Well done to Coach/Manager Matt "Popovich" Wensley on a great year, Josh "The Assassin" Warnock finished strongly with 21 points, Toby "Ranger" Lightheart had a handy 10, Oliver "Forrest Gump" Sainsbury was again solid with 6, Matthew "Houdini" Rogers had an important 14, Cameron "The Post-man" Warnock hustled hard all night against the Tigers bigs, Lachlan "Stretch" Cotton capitalised with a nice 11, Jared "Hangtime" Vandersluys worked hard in defence and provided important rotations and Tim "Cyclops" Summers made a handy comeback to score 8.

The women were up next at 8.50pm. I don’t know about the others but I was certainly very antsy during the day waiting for our game time (aka shitting my dacks)! Thankfully after a great warm up, we came out firing, up 14-0 and feeling great. The roar from the crowd spine tingling. Unfortunately, despite an official bench, I managed to be given an extra foul and had to sit for half the first quarter having racked up a quick 3 fouls…from here South made a couple of subs, regrouped and started to find their scoring mojo while we struggled to convert at the other end. We finished the end of the first quarter up 17-9. The end of the quarter was not without drama though as Hail Storm Hayley got taken out with a serious back (and unbeknownst to her probably a head) injury. This proved to be significant as we lost a proven finals player out of the rotation for the game.

Like a repeating nightmare the second quarter was all South early, scoring the next 6 points to bring the score back to 17-15. We then traded buckets to finish the quarter, up 26-25, having squandered our early lead but managing to stay in touch unlike our first finals meeting. In the third we started strong but lost our way late as South got out to as much as 14. Not lying down though we pulled it back to 10 at the end of the quarter with a real challenge ahead of us. In the fourth we were fired up and ready to put the game on back our terms. Stacey ‘CJ’ Franceschinis hit two 3s early to put us back to within 4 points and gave us some momentum with the crowd lifting us every step of the way. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t stop them scoring at the other end and despite giving our all, the margin blew out to 9, South taking the premiership 67-58 and ending our hopes of 4 in a row.

Stacey "CJ" Franceschinis starred all night, rebounding like a machine and knocking down some big shots, she finished with 16, Tamara "Turtle" Walker (that’s me) struggled to get space early but worked my way to 14, Danielle "Eager Beaver" Bator was great at both ends of the floor with 12. Evie "Jolteon" Lovell (aka Zac’s sister) had 5, Adrienne "Rocky" Worrell, and Laura "Baby Huey" Luming both finished with 4, the umpires again not Laura’s friend. Jasmine "Dusty" Moyle hit a handy 2 in the fourth as we mounted our comeback, and Alexis Rex" Atkins fought hard in defence and came up with some big steals and great energy as she threw herself on the floor. Unfortunately Hayley "Storm" Van-Rossen as I mentioned earlier got taken out of the game and was unable to contribute, a huge loss to our group. Big thanks to Super Coach Tuz who again did a stellar job not only as our coach, but the coach of one of the Div 2 teams, as well as running the entire women’s program, it is hugely appreciated by all of us.

So that’s it. Season over. It was unfortunately not our year. We can certainly hold our heads high that we gave it our best shot but (I can’t speak for the Men although I am sure they are the same), I can tell you the Women have some unfinished business. We WILL be back, and we WILL be better, and we WILL get that premiership back.

Go Blacks!
By Tam Walker