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The Just Better Care Wollongong Roller Hawks have fallen short in their bid to win the inaugural Wheelchair Leagues Cup going down to the Darwin Salties 74-71 in the Grand Final on Sunday.

The second year club won the tournament which was open to club teams across the country in the absence of the National Wheelchair Basketball League in 2023.

Wollongong knew they were in for a torrid battle after coming back from 15 points down to win their pool game against the Salties on Friday night. 


The grand final did not disappoint with scores locked at 34 all at half time and just 2 points the difference in favour of Darwin going into the final quarter.

The Roller Hawks drew level 71-71 with 1:20 to play but Darwin's Jontee Brown responded with 2 more of his own on his way to a game high 33 points.

The Roller Hawks had a chance to tie coming out of a time out but couldn’t capitalise and on their next possession a turnover and a foul sent Salties co-captain CJ McCarthy-Grogan to the free throw line where he made one of two to ice the game and bring Darwin their first piece of silverware in just their second year of existence.  

“We’re disappointed, we thought we had a really good chance coming into this game,” said Roller Hawks captain Brett Stibners.

“The Salties were just too good. They took us out of our comfort zone and we just couldn’t cope.”

Darwin learned from their defeat earlier in the tournament and didn’t let up to allow the Roller Hawks to arrest control.


“They were so fast getting out to us that we couldn’t get open and then when we moved the ball around they were out again (defending us) so we couldn’t take advantage of the way we normally play.”

“Everyone worked hard, everyone tried hard, it just didn’t come off for us.”

The loss brings a halt to the Roller Hawks’ domination of the national scene that began back in 2017 and produced a run of four National Wheelchair Basketball League titles.

“We’re getting older, we need to train more, our style is not going to change, we just need to be fitter and be able to push for longer.”

“Because we’ve won so many in a row, every team plays their best against you and so if we want to get better next year, we have to focus on our fitness.”

Attention for the Roller Hawks now turns to the remainder of the NSW Waratah League season and the Wheelchair Basketball Illawarra Festival in November.








Wollongong Roller Hawks 72 def Southern Districts Spartans 61

Darwin Salties 61 def Perth Wheelcats 52

Perth Wheelcats 66 def Southern Districts Spartans 39

Wollongong Roller Hawks 75 def Darwin Salties 70

Wollongong Roller Hawks 76 def Perth Wheelcats 48

Darwin Salties 85 def Southern District Spartans 46



3rd Place Play-off

Perth Wheelcats 79 def Southern District Spartans 46

Grand Final

Darwin Salties 74 def Wollongong Roller Hawks 71