Flames vs. Bearcats - Men's Semi Final 1 Preview

Norwood returns to a building they called home as recently as last season for a do-or-die match-up against West Adelaide.


The Flames welcome the Bearcats, who knocked Sturt out of the finals last weekend, to MARS for a mouthwatering clash.


Norwood led as late as the final three minutes of its narrow qualifying final loss to Southern, and would consider themselves rather unlucky to have ended up here with its season on the line.


West not managed to score a win in their series against the Flames, although having this semi-final at an arena not seen this season is definitely a noteworthy factor.


In the first match, clutch threepoint shooting (43 per cent) was a key factor in Norwood’s seven-point win at ARC, whilst only a late Kellen Smith triple could separate the two sides in an incredibly evenlymatched second game.


Norwood enter this weekend with star import Jerrell Sanders remaining under an injury cloud.


Coach Kevin Brooks listed him as probable, although do not expect him to retake his starting position this week.


“We have to have his health and wellbeing at the forefront, and we’ve developed such a rhythm and a flow so we have to be careful with that,” Brooks said.


That “rhythm” saw the Flames nearly topple a very strong Southern side, and this undersized list could prove difficult for West Adelaide to match.


The hosts are also one of the strongest defensive units in the league, with the ability to shut down individuals or entire teams, which coach Brooks reiterated.


“We want to be the better defensive team,” Brooks said. 


“We’re smaller than everyone else so we don’t necessarily have to beat everyone on the boards, but we have to be competitive on the boards.” 


Offensively, the Flames have a host of players who can shoot and slash extremely well, which has enabled them to maintain their scoring output and trouble opponents in the absence of Sanders.


West travels to MARS with confidence after their elimination final, where many players took some time to grow into the match.


Dee Oldham was the star of the elimination final win, scoring 32 points.


Oldham, who was restricted to 15 points in the last meeting between the sides, expected another tough encounter.


“Norwood’s a physical team, we’re going to line up and everything else will be decided between the lines,”
he said.




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