After being discussed to be a likely final matchup throughout the season, the Sturt Sabres and Forestville Eagles have both punched their tickets to the big dance for 2019. With a range of stories to tell from this season, including dark horses and potential threats, the top two teams will face off for the final time this year, with one lifting the coveted trophy.
The Sabres and Eagles met less than one month ago in the opening round of the post-season and we saw Sturt emerge victorious. Sturt convincingly overcame the Eagles by 15-points on their home floor although with a title at stake, the end result may differ.
In the Semi-Final bout, three of Sturts starting five were in double figures including Dani Angley who shot an astounding 71% from the floor (10-14 FG). Angley led all scores with 23-points in a phenomenal effort although was trailed closely by Forestville’s Chelsea Roberts (22-pts).
Sturt were not shy about taking the ball to the basket in their earlier post season meeting and scored a whopping 40-points in the paint compared to Forestvilles’ 26. Forestvilles’ road to the Grand Final was definitely not an easy one, with the highly offensive Mount Gambier Pioneers standing in their way. Since conceding 40-points in the paint against Sturt, the Eagles tightened their defence inside and in turn held the Pioneers to 32 (they also outscored them 34-32).
The ability to utilise their wide range of scorers who don’t lack confidence is a huge strength in this Eagles outfit. In their earlier meeting, four out of their starting five ended the contest in double figures but at an average field goal percentage. The understandably high volume of shots combined by these players, demonstrates their ability to continue to shoot despite many not falling. In turn, their confidence from many areas of the floor may help them overcome the Sabres in their final meeting.
Head to Head:
Round 5: Sabres 63 d Eagles 55
Round 11: Eagles 70 d Sabres 66
Semi Final 2: Sabres 79 d Eagles 64
Ones to Watch:
Oceana Paulina Hamilton - Paulina Hamilton will be a difference maker coming off the bench and if hot from the floor, will be incredibly dangerous to guard. Averaging just under 10-PPG in 18-minutes, she is more than able to find the bottom of the net when given the opportunity. If given some more time on the floor, she could just as well drop 15+ and cause a significant problem for Wong’s unit.
Ruby Porter - Porters ability to work both ends of the floor consistently will be highly beneficial to the Sabres. Porter dropped 17-points for the Sabres in the Semi-Final against Forestville although more significantly, she acquired 3-steals and 3-assists showing only a glimpse of her potential in other areas of the court. Porter also shot 5-7 from deep and is more than able to swing the contest in Sturts’ favour.
After meeting once before in the past weeks, are we en route to seeing much of the same? Or have the Eagles healed their clipped wings and are about to fly high?
Prediction: Forestville Eagles by less than 5.