SBL grand final: Joondalup Wolves’ Ben Ettridge confident the balance is right

Trian Iliadis has benefited from the addition of two key imports. Picture: Michael Farnell, sportsimagery.com.au
Trian Iliadis has benefited from the addition of two key imports. Picture: Michael Farnell, sportsimagery.com.au

JOONDALUP Wolves coach Ben Ettridge has a simple reason for why his side has lost the previous two State Basketball League grand finals: their shooting was poor.

But this year, having introduced two big scoring imports, the double-championship winning mentor is confident the balance will be right when they face the Perry Lakes Hawks in the Wolves’ fourth-straight decider at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday.

Even if the Hawks’ defence manages to restrict the impact of US imports Jalen Billups and Brian Sullivan, Ettridge is confident it will allow other dangerous shooters Trian Iliadis and Rob Huntington off the chain.

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It’s a luxury the Wolves did not have in the past two seasons where, Iliadis in particular, received the bulk of the attention and could not find his range.

“To have Brian and Jalen now as our number 1 and number 2 options, suddenly Trian and Robbie become three and four and then Seb (Salinas), Maxy (Reece Maxwell) and Damo (Matacz) become five, six and seven,” he said.

“For most teams, those players would be their main avenues to the basket.

“Having two quality guys who can kick in a bucket, and allowing Trian and Robbie and the rest of the boys to settle into their role, that’s probably the biggest adjustment we’ve made this year.”

The Hawks will be without their key scorer in Jacob Holmen, who scored 38 points when Perry Lakes defeated the Wolves in over-time the last time they met.

Holmen suffered a serious knee injury in game 1 of the semi-finals against Rockingham and required a reconstruction.

But Ettridge watched the Hawks’ game 3 victory over Rockingham and it left him wary of Perry Lakes’ other big man Brian Carlwell, who stepped up strongly in Holmen’s absence.

Joondalup reached the grand final after sweeping the Stirling Senators in game two 87-74 at Warwick Stadium last Saturday.