Frankston Blues coach Andrew Harms is confident his team will stand up in the NBL1 finals, as the group enters Saturday night’s home Qualifying Final against Nunawading Spectres.
The Blues have had a sensational finish to the NBL1 season, rallying back from a 1-4 start to finish second on the ladder – all while dealing with personnel issues, which included losing NBL players Dan Trist and Majok Majok to separate China tours during the year.
However, Frankston has had their full squad together for the last few weeks, building much needed chemistry before the finals begin. Harms believes the combination of that newfound cohesion, and the mentality of the playing group, will fuel a confident performance on Saturday.
“I’ve said it a million times this year but you can’t microwave that continuity,” Harms said.
“We pick guys based off certain basketball traits and characteristics that we want to align with our club. We feel that those traits, and the guys we have recruited, are going to stand up in moments like this and they have proven that throughout the year.
“We have faced some challenging times starting 1-4, been down a lot of personnel, but the one thing that never wavered with our group was that inner belief and that confidence. I think that will come to the fore on Saturday.
“It is a great test to go against a team that has been there throughout those years because you want to beat the best at their best and I think Nunawading is going to be that on Saturday night.”
The Blues will return to the finals for the first time since 2010, against a Spectres team who have been finals regulars over the course of the past decade.
Even though the finals experience gap is significant, Harms doesn’t think it will have a mental impact on his players, holding confidence the group will put on a positive performance for the home crowd.
“Every coach is confident coming into the finals, you’re always going to back your players in 100 percent,” Harms said.
“Nunawading will be an awesome test for us. It will be the first time the club has played finals in near on nine years now, so to draw Nunawading, who have probably been there the last nine years, will be a fantastic challenge for us.
“We are looking forward to welcoming them to a really hostile environment on Saturday night. We are looking forward to a really good challenge against a quality outfit.”
Frankston has a strong blend of talent, with Majok, Trist, Damon Bozeman, Najeal Young and Igor Hadziomerovic all having excellent campaigns.
All the ingredients are there for the Blues to achieve something special, and Harms thinks they have the potential to do so.
“We feel we are really capable and we have a good opportunity to represent the club with a lot of pride in the coming weeks,” Harms said.
Frankston hosts Nunawading in the second NBL1 Qualifying Final at the Frankston Basketball Stadium on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.