After a season shorter than the rest but just as lively, we have come to the time where everything is put on the line.
With one final chance to compete in the 2021 CBL Grand Final, our country superstars step on court tonight with their eyes on the prize.
What can you expect from these Semi-Final match ups? Today we’ll preview our remaining four sides in each conference vying for Conference Final berth.
Maffra Eagles vs Korumburra Wildcats
Moe Meteors vs Warragul Warriors
It is getting to the business end of the Gippsland Men’s competition as the first round of Semi-Finals get underway. With a fire burning and an unwavering sense of determination, Maffra Eagles are expected to soar in the Semi-Final tonight against Korumburra Wildcats.
Maffra have dominated the competition all season, undefeated and clearly having learned from past CBL seasons. Their last encounter came in Round 5 as the Wildcats fell short to Maffra’s ability, 96-81. Korumburra’s redeeming feature could be in the form of Keith Robinson who has been notorious for hitting double digit figures across the season.
Warragul will face Moe for the other place in the Conference Final. Moe enter tonight with one more win more than Warragul and the upper hand. However, Warragul’s decisive victory last week saw Murray Myers (13 points) and Tom Muir (15 points) serve class performances and be the confidence booster needed to pull off a Semi-Finals surprise.
Warragul Warriors vs Maffra Eagles
Korumburra Wildcats vs Moe Meteors
As the Women’s Gippsland competition hit the Semi-Finals, top of the table Warragul Warriors will look to continue their undefeated winning streak in a match up against Maffra Eagles. Maffra will have a mammoth challenge coming up against this season’s title favorites, having only one win to their name.
Meanwhile, last season’s Runners Ups, Moe Meteors, will be looking to return to the Grand Final stage to rewrite the story of their 2019/20 season. Korumburra are not a team to back down from a battle and will be contesting every play of Moe’s. A shoot-out from Korumburra’s Chloe Hogg and Moe’s Samantha Labros is on the cards tonight, especially knowing Labros’ prior CBL finals experience.
NORTH EAST MEN
Seymour Blasters vs Wodonga Wolves
Myrtleford Saints vs Benalla Breakers
With last year’s premiers out of the running, a new title winner will be decided from these four sides in the North East Men’s. Seymour will be hoping for another night of success from Tyler Best (21 points) and Jordan Hockley (17 points) who delivered top scores in their final round of the season. Wodonga Wolves will attempt to make amends for their Round 1 loss to the Blasters which saw them fall short by 32 points.
Myrtleford Saints and Benalla Breakers will be vying for the other North East finals tonight. This will be an evenly matched game with the pair finishing second and third on the ladder. The pair last met in Round 5 with Myrtleford coming out on top.
NORTH EAST WOMEN
Wangaratta Warriors vs Wodonga Lady Wolves
Wallan Panthers vs Seymour Blasters
The outcome of Wangaratta and Wodonga is something not easily predicted tonight as these teams are yet to face each other this CBL season. Wangaratta’s strength has been clear throughout the season, having experienced multiple substantial wins. Ebony Noris impressed in Wangaratta’s last game of the season with 21 points and worked well with Olivia Storer who has been a consistent playmaker in her team. This pair could have promise tonight, that is if Caitlin Reid and Jade McCowan can be kept quiet for the Lady Wolves.
Wallan and Seymour will play off for the final spot in next week’s Conference Final. These two last hit it out in Round 5 when Wallan stole the win in the end, but Seymour made a statement with Maddison Ford securing 20 points on the board.
NORTH WEST MEN
Maryborough Blazers vs Echuca Pirates
Bendigo Braves vs Kyneton Tigers
Maryborough’s epic 22 point victory over Castlemaine last weekend saw them secure their first-place ranking and an undefeated season in this year’s Men’s North West Conference. Maryborough’s Brady Neill played a lone hand for the Blazers last week, scoring a notable 24 points.
Castlemaine’s loss was also a blessing for Echuca Pirates, seeing them hold onto final contention and now preparing for a tough game tonight against the season frontrunners and defending premiers.
The yellow and black Kyneton Tigers will face Bendigo to drive their side into next week’s Conference Final. The Braves have plenty of force in Lachlan O’Brien, Trent Leech and Dylan McCauley, while Kyneton know they can beat the Braves, having done so through the season in a 15 point victory.
NORTH WEST WOMEN
Bendigo Braves vs Mildura Heat
Maryborough Blazers vs Kyneton Tigers
With three of the same associations competing this weekend in both North West Men’s and Women’s, there is expected to be double the excitement or disappointment depending on outcomes. Bendigo lead the way going into Semi-Finals against Mildura Heat, having only lost one game throughout the season. Mildura has not had the chance to come up against the reigning premiers in 2021 and will have steep competition against names including Madeline Sexton, Sharna Appleby and and Hayley Harrington. Mildura have not played since Round 4 so will be rearing to get back on court in this anticipated match up.
Kyneton Tigers will match up against Maryborough Blazers for the other Conference Final place. Kyneton have won one more game across the season compared to Maryborough, however Maryborough bested the Tigers in Round 1 and will be holding onto this memory going into their game tonight.
SOUTH WEST MEN
Ararat Redbacks vs Warrnambool Seahawks
Portland Coasters vs Colac Kookas
The South West Men’s competition will hit the Semi-Finals all guns blazing when the front-runners Ararat face off against Warrnambool Seahawks, who finished fourth on the table after a close loss to Colac in the final home and away round. Ararat have steamrolled the South West competition, taking four straight wins to cement their place as the team to beat.
Although Ararat’s Zac Dunmore and Ethan Fiegert will provide a semi-final headache, Warrnambool will be driven to correct the past. Last time these two sides met, Warrnambool surprised the competition and kept Ararat to their narrowest win all season of nine points – who is to say we couldn’t be in for another close one tonight?
On the back of their Round 6 win, Colac Kookas will look to stop Portland Coasters in their tracks tonight. After missing out on the Grand Final last season, we can expect the Coasters to deliver a determined performance in a brilliant battle. The Kookas joined Portland Coasters with a record of 3-1 from their games after their win against Warrnambool, leaving this Semi-Final game to decide who will earn bragging rights and propel into next week’s Conference Final.
Colac’s Jordan Lingard (24 points last week) and Matthew Lloyd (21 points last week) look strong heading into finals but will have to overcome a collaborative Portland side who are consistent in sharing the load and possess talent at both ends of the court.