Posted on Sunday, July 7th, 2019
Final 4 – Showdown Countdown
Over the next fortnight we’ll keep you updated daily with all the news and views ahead of the 2019 Sal’s NBL on July 20/21 at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch. Got your tickets yet? Click HERE
Welcome to our daily Showdown Countdown!
The league has announced Fan Free Friday at the Final 4 with the doors at Horncastle Arena open to everyone to come along and enjoy seeing all four teams on court across the day as they go through their final training session ahead of the weekend’s action. Details HERE
The World Cup will be on display at the Final 4 and fans will be welcome to take a photo with basketball most prized trophy. Details are HERE
Single Day Passes (from $12) and Weekend Passes (from $23) are now on sale HERE
Hawks - an interesting Final 4 preparation period for the Hawks with three games to play and the strong likelihood that the team’s star players, such as Brandon Bowman and EJ Singler, could only play in one of the two games in R14. After a mis-match against the Supercity Rangers to end R13, the Hawks have a R14 double against the Rams and Huskies, the latter being played in Launceston, Tasmania. While Singler has already been ruled out of the Rangers game, don’t be surprised if Bowman is kept on a leash and spends much of the game watching on. Next week’s assignment will probably include a full line-up against the Rams in a Semi Final preview, but it’s the road trip to Tasmania that will see the biggest shake-up for the Hawks with the likelihood that most of not all of their starting unit will remain on home soil.
Rams - the build up across Christchurch is real and so are the chances of the hometown Rams going all the way. Despite a R13 loss to the Saints, there looks to be enough confidence in the group, especially at the defensive end of the floor, to suggest the Rams will give the Final 4 a real shake. With local media coverage expected to build over the next fortnight, the Rams now need to embrace the road to the Final 4 and enjoy the build-up and excitement building on the streets of Christchurch.
Saints - much like the Hawks, the unbeaten Saints might be forced into a tough decision on rating their star players in R14 when they travel to play the lowly Rangers in what also looms as far from the preparation they would like ahead of the Final 4. Second unit leader Leon Henry has been battling injury and could be tested, while Saints coach Paul Henare will need to decide if resting Nick Kay, Rob Loe, Shea Ili and Reuben Te Rangi will deliver more positives than negatives. Captain Jordan Ngatai is another who will likely be on reduced minutes.
Sharks - it’s a heads down and backsides up mentality down at ILT Stadium right now with the reigning champs preparing for a Semi Final clash with their arch rivals, the Saints. Given the Wellington juggernaut is yet to drop a game they will undoubtedly start red-hot favourites, however the Sharks might just be the one team they would have liked to avoid in their SF match-up. The Sharks turned in some of their very best team basketball of the season in the first quarter against the Huskies in R13. Not only did they drop 37pts in the first quarter, their 17-3 run over the opening 150 seconds of the game was a great sign as the business end of the season fast approaches.