Wolves in the hunt
Joondalup chase fifth SBL championship.
THE Joondalup Wolves have been to the State Basketball League grand final more times than any other team this decade.
The Perth Redbacks haven’t been to the big dance in 18 years and haven’t won a title since 1997.
It makes for a classic sporting scenario of the dominant versus the success starved when the sides meet in the championship game at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night.
Wolves coach Ben Ettridge was of the opinion that it would not produce anything Joondalup hadn’t already faced in finals against Cockburn and Geraldton.
“Cockburn had a couple of bigtime scorers and then the Buccs had three guys we had to key in on,” he said. “They’ve got multiple avenues to the basket, but we’ve hung our hat on being the best defensive team in the league over the past three or four years.”
No bigger name graces the Belmont-based Redbacks’ line-up than four-time Perth Wildcats championship player Shawn Redhage. But Ettridge said they did not have a specific Redhage plan.
“If you make one guy the focus, it takes away from how we do things,” he said.
Of greater benefit is the side’s cunning player management approach. Ettridge boasted his starting five had played fewer minutes than most other sides.
While the Wolves’ grand final loss to Cockburn last year offered motivation, there would not be a lot they could take out of that clash. Joondalup had adopted a faster game style this season, making it difficult to compare the two grand finals.
But the experience and the team’s other three grand final appearances from 2011 to 2016 would give them an edge.
Wolves coach Ben Ettridge.