Following the conclusion of the second last round of the 2017 season, Wollongong Rollerhawks and Kilsyth Cobras secured first and second place on the ladder respectively with the Sydney Metro Blues, Be Active Perth Wheelcats and the Queensland Spinning Bullets left to fight for the remaining two playoff positions.
The Rollerhawks travelled to Victoria to take on the Cobras, each team claimed a win against each other in Round 7 and that win for Wollongong was enough for them to claim top spot.
The Rollerhawks took early honors by winning on Saturday night by a margin of 26 points before Kilsyth exacted revenge by 16 points the following day in the return match. Key Wollongong player Brett Stibners was missed in the second game after tallying 17 points, six rebounds and nine assists in Wollongong’s win.
Wollongong’s Michael Auprince (23.5 points, 11 rebounds) and Nick Taylor (16.5 points, 11 assists) both averaged double-doubles, Luke Pople impressed with 17.5 points, five rebounds and eight assists for the weekend while Clay Kelly came off the bench to provide some important minutes for the Rollerhawks.
Kilsyth were led by Tristan Knowles’ 20 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists on Sunday while Daniel Del Toso moved into the starting line-up for that clash to collect 12 points and ten boards. While they would have been disappointed to drop the game the night before, the Cobras can take confidence from beating the league leaders as they may meet again in the upcoming finals.
The Sydney Metro Blues and the Queensland Spinning Bullets travelled to Marrara basketball stadium in Darwin for their round 7 ‘state of origin’ clash. It was a rare treat for Top End basketball fans, with a National Wheelchair Basketball League fixtures taking place in the Territory. Both teams spent time in the community sharing goodwill and promoting the matches and sport around Darwin.
The games where a another important match-up in terms of playoff positioning with third-placed Sydney Metro Blues and fourth-placed Queensland Spinning Bullets each taking a win over the other in Round 7.
The matches showcased the skills and abilities of all players involved. Fighting back from a half-time deficit, the Blues won the first contest by 15 points as Joe Chambers scored 42 on 19-31 shooting and Darren Skuse added six points, ten rebounds and two assists off the bench. The best for the Spinning Bullets where Tom O’Neill-Thorne (23 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and Kurt Thomson (ten points).
Queensland turned the table on the Blues and proved too good in their re-match the following day though, claiming a seven-point win to stay on 29 points just outside the top four.
Heading into the final round of the regular season, the Blues face the Wheelcats with Sydney Metro still needing two wins to officially secure their place in the playoffs.