• Register

There are three teams standing in the way of the Wollongong Roller Hawks winning their first championship since 2012 and with all due respect to the Queensland Spinning Bullets - one of those teams is themselves.


The Roller Hawks put together another impressive season as they assembled a 16-2 record on their way to taking out the minor premiership but the side knows that having put together consistently impressive seasons in recent years, it will count for little if they can’t bring home the championship.

In 2015 the Roller Hawks also finished Minor Premiers but successive losses left them in the play off for bronze while last year the side also fell short after losing Michael Auprince in the lead up to the finals and once again having to settle for third.

The Roller Hawks, the Kilsyth Cobras, the Sydney Metro Blues and the Queensland Spinning Bullets will converge on Melbourne this weekend for the NWBL Finals Series.

Roller Hawks captain Brett Stibners sees the Cobras and the Blues as the other two major contenders for this year’s title with the Roller Hawks dropping one game each to them in the regular season.

“Our whole season has shown us that we are capable of beating every team and we are capable of coming from behind and winning,” says Stibners.

“Kilsyth are our strongest competition. If Tristan (Knowles) shoots well we will have to play really well to beat them.”

“He has good support from ‘Huss’ (Shawn Russell) and ‘Gronners’ (Shaun Groenewegen) and their lows are good shooters as well.”

The wild card in this year’s finals series is Sydney having made major improvements this season thanks to the inclusion of American import Joe Chambers.

“Joe Chambers can score a lot of points, CJ (Clarence Mccarthy-Grogan) is shooting the ball well and John McPhail has given them something they haven’t had in a long time - a ball handler.”

“Their low pointers work really well with their high pointers as well.”

“The key to beating them will be defensive pressure especially on Joe and CJ.”

The other challenge facing the Roller Hawks is the extended break they have been on since their last game. Come game day on Friday it will have been 26 days since the side played a game having had the bye in the final round of the regular season.

“I’m not sure how the break will affect us. We have been training well but it’s only training. I assume we will start slow in our first game against Kilsyth.

First placed Wollongong will play second placed Kilsyth in the opening game of the Finals on Friday evening with the winner advancing directly to Sunday’s Gold Medal game.

The loser will play the winner of Friday’s second game between Sydney and Queensland on Saturday for the right to progress to the Gold Medal Game.

Sunday’s Gold and Bronze Medal Games will be live streamed on the Basketball Australia Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/BasketballAus


NWBL FINALS: All games at Kilsyth Sports Centre, VIC

Friday August 18: (Game 1) ROLLER HAWKS vs KILSYTH COBRAS - 6:00pm


Saturday August 19: (Game 3)  Loser Game 1 vs Winner Game 2 - 6:00pm

Sunday August 20: (Bronze Medal Game)  Loser Game 2 vs Loser Game 3 - 11:00am

Sunday August 20: (Gold Medal Game)  Winner Game 1 vs Winner Game 3 - 1:00pm