SEASON REVIEW: SYDNEY METRO BLUES
SYDNEY METRO BLUES
Wins - 11
Losses – 7
Standing – Runners-Up
2016 result – 0 wins, 15 losses 6th
An incredible turnaround from a winless season in 2016, the Blues loomed as the most dangerous team heading into the finals and proved it when they defeated Kilsyth in the Preliminary Final. From a 3-4 start, they won five straight games and consistently blew teams out of the water with their high-intensity offence seeing them crack the century mark on three occasions. Sydney Metro’s fortunes certainly turned after Round 1 with the arrival of Joe Chambers but the growth of CJ McCarthy-Grogan was just as important after he returned from a season in college. Averaging 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists, he starred alongside John McPhail (11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-high 6.8 assists) who made the All-Star Five as well. Darren Skuse (8.2 points, 7.4 boards) was also an important cog with his work on the glass helping Sydney Metro get into their fast-paced style of play.
A silver medal was a positive conclusion to the season but the Blues were always up against it when facing Wollongong, finishing with a 1-3 record vs. the eventual Champions.
Chambers transformed Sydney Metro when he arrived after Round 1 and finished as the league’s top scorer. He shot an outrageous 61% from the field, scoring at least 14 points every game while recording 35+ on four occasions with a season-high of 50 coming against Kilsyth. The USA import also had seven double-doubles and averaged 25.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the playoffs to help secure the Blues’ silver medal.
An unknown at this stage, it seems unlikely that Chambers will return for Sydney Metro and their quest to find an import of similar offensive talents will not be easy. They may not need to though if McCarthy-Grogan and McPhail can power their offence with contributions from the likes of Skuse and Georgia Munro-Cook. Bouncing back from a disappointing 2016 campaign, the Blues’ challenge is to now sustain themselves as one of the top-tier teams.