SBL: Joondalup Wolves success akin to WAFL club Subiaco

Jalen Billups dunks in the Wolves game two victory over Stirling. Picture: Michael Farnell, sportsimagery.com.au
Jalen Billups dunks in the Wolves game two victory over Stirling. Picture: Michael Farnell, sportsimagery.com.au

WAFL club Subiaco might get the plaudits as the power team of WA’s state sporting leagues this decade.

But the State Basketball League’s Joondalup Wolves have made a strong case to be considered in that conversation.

The side is heading into its sixth grand final of the 2010s this weekend looking to claim its third title since 2011.

It is their fourth-straight appearance in the biggest contest of the year with a win in 2015 and back-to-back losses in 2016-17.

The Wolves have swept through this year’s finals undefeated from two best-of-three series to reach the championship game against Perry Lakes at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night.

Subiaco has contested four grand finals with two premierships since 2010 and appears headed for a fifth appearance in this year’s decider off the back of an undefeated season.

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Joondalup chief executive Cameron Britt raised the Subiaco comparison after it was brought to his attention by a Wolves member.

He described it as “rarefied air”.

“They’re (Subiaco) certainly a club that’s well recognised in WA for their success and ongoing ability to be right in there at the pointy end of a season,” he said.

“So it’s quite nice to see that we’re running along side them.”

The Wolves have enjoyed just as big a season off the court as they have on it.

Bigger crowds have followed them to their multimillion-dollar new home court at HBF Arena after they ended nearly 30 years at Joondalup Basketball Stadium last year.

In recent campaigns, it was rare for the Wolves to land a crowd bigger than 500 in the regular season.

This year, they had an average attendance of 550.

That number peaked at 866 with their semi-final against Stirling earlier this month.

Britt said that game was “enormous to manage but highly satisfying”.

“We had probably 75 people who didn’t see the whole first quarter, such was the surge of attendees arriving just before tip-off,” he said.

“Our fans have saluted in terms of their attendance and interest.

“It would be icing on the cake to hang a (championship) banner on our debut year in the arena.”