SEABL SEMI PREVIEW – EAST CONFERENCE MEN
Dandenong Rangers (20-8) v Geelong Supercats (19-9), Dandenong stadium, 7.30pm Saturday, August 18
Dandenong stumbled through their final three matches of the year, losing by an average margin of 12 points. However, their record of 20-8 was the best in the entire league and their percentage the best of the final four in the East Conference.
Geelong is also in something of a form slump, winning just one of their last five games which has coincided with the loss of Kimmani Barrett. The Supercats will be boosted by their most recent victory though, which came against the Rangers in Round 19.
Dandenong: The Rangers import Daequon Montreal serves as the barometer for the home side, having scored 24 points in their Round 13 victory over Geelong, shooting 10-21 from the field. In the Round 19 loss though, he managed just 8 points, shooting 36% while turning the ball over 3 times. Tony Lewis is the second of Dandenong’s star import pairing alongside Montreal. But Lewis has been well held by the Supercats in their two games this year, averaging just 11.0 points against Geelong, well below his season average of 19.3 ppg.
Geelong: Sans Kimmani Barrett, who scored 33 points against Dandenong in Round 13, the load on Theron Wilson’s back has significantly increased. However, Wilson showed he can handle the pressure in the second meeting between these clubs, collecting 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in just 20 minutes. Nick Owusu enjoys the challenge of playing against the Rangers as well, averaging 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Combined with Wilson, he could cause headaches for the Dandenong defence.
Dandenong: Coming off the bench in their Round 19 loss, Andrew Harms failed to have an impact in 19 minutes of court time, missing on three field goal attempts and grabbing only two rebounds. However, his effort in their victory in round 13 was spectacular at both ends. He finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds (four offensive) and 5 assists. Another explosive performance like that will take the Rangers to the Conference Grand Final.
Geelong: David Mecanovic is a unique threat for opposition sides, as he has the ability to play guard but his height and length stretches defences more like a forward. He was close to a triple-double in their previous win over Dandenong, grabbing 9 rebounds, 7 assists and shooting 6-9 for 17 points.
Key Match ups
Andrew Harms vs Nick Owusu
When two star point guards do battle against each other, it usually sets the tone for a cracking match and Saturday night should be no exception. Owusu sits fifth in the league for assists but the 400 games of experience between the two will see neither man take a backwards step.
Tony Lewis vs Theron Wilson
This match up showcases two classy players that will be banging into each other all night. Both can run the floor. Both can hit the jump shot from range. Both can mix it up in the post. Expect to see these guys doing battle for most of the night.
Previous Meetings This Year
Round 13: Dandenong 83 def Geelong 79 @ Dandenong
Round 19: Geelong 94 def Dandenong 75 @ Geelong
With Barrett out for the season at Geelong, Dandenong should have the upper hand, but the Supercats have already prevailed against the Rangers once without him. In both of their previous encounters the Supercats have gotten off to hot starts, so if Dandenong can keep Geelong in check in the opening half, their home court advantage may be just enough to take them over the line.
Prediction: Dandenong by 6.