THE Chelsea Gulls have taken out the opening round of the Big V grand-final series in dominant fashion on Saturday 25 August, while the Southern Peninsula Sharks will need to win two on the road to be named grand-final victors.
The Chelsea Gulls men’s division one side claimed an 11-point victory over the Shepparton Gators (94-83) in the first round of the best-of-three grand-final series.
The Gulls scored the victory away from home and are set to play their next two rounds in front of their home crowd at Patterson River Stadium, with around 1,000 supporters expected to flock to the game.
Chelsea Gulls head coach Peter Caspersz said the critical win was one of the side’s best performances for the season.
“The second half performance was enormous but we’ve got to back it up now and do it all again,” Caspersz said.
“It definitely takes a little bit of the heat off us and puts a bit more pressure on them to win these next two rounds on the road but we’re certainly not getting ahead of ourselves.
“We were in the same position against Western Port and we won’t want to be making the same mistake again.
“We’re confident heading in but we don’t want to be getting too confident as they have two very good imports that could be capable of anything so we’ve got to be mindful of that.”
Caspersz said the Gulls supporters have made a huge difference throughout the season and is expecting another massive turnout over the weekend.
“It was a great game, but ‘wow’ would be the word I’d used to describe the crowd,” he said.
“The support from the supporters at every away game has been incredible. I reckon we had about 300 followers in that first game.”
The Gulls will likely be opening the footy oval to allow for parking at the stadium with Caspersz saying that the game will be “electrifying”.
In the first round of the women’s state championship grand-final, the Southern Peninsula Sharks suffered a 35-point loss to the Sunbury Jets (50-85) at home.
The Sharks will now need to win their next two rounds away at Boardman Stadium, Sunbury to be crowned champions.
Southern Peninsula Sharks basketball operations manager Lucas Allen said the women’s team certainly didn’t lack a drive to win.
“It was a tough game but I think the Jets’ experience having five or six national league players made a lot of difference,” Allen said.
“You certainly couldn’t question [the Sharks’] intent. They had a great crack but just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net.
“Sunbury did a great job defensively, but hopefully we can get a few shots to drop and turn the result around.”
It’s no easy feat to win away from home but Allen believes the Sharks won’t be too fazed by the travel.
“They won their first three finals games on the road so I think they’ll be able to handle playing away,” he said.
“Sunbury have earnt [the two home grand final games] with how they’ve gone throughout the year.
“Our girls aren’t going to be able to match the international experience that they have, but they’ll certainly be better for having that experience in the first round and I’m sure they’ll put in another great performance.”
Both of the second and third round grand final matches will be played on the weekend of Saturday 1 September for the Southern Peninsula Sharks and the Chelsea Gulls.