TAMWORTH Thunderbolts had an unexpected win off the Waratah State League court this week.
While the Thunderbolts men’s side guaranteed a WSL finals berth with their double header wins over central Coast Waves and Coffs Harbour Suns on the Tamworth Sports Dome show court, they also earned the John Ireland-coached side a home final against Hawkesbury Jets Orange in the Sports Dome this Saturday night.
Saturday night’s win over the Waves earned the side a WSL finals berth and Sunday’s victory confirmed a home final.
“It was very close,” a flu-ridden John Ireland told The Leader this week.
“We finished second in our SL country pool and that matched us up with a cross-over game against the fourth side in the metro pool (Hawkesbury Jets Orange).
“They finished with a 61 per cent winning percentage and we had a 66 per cent winning percentage and that won us the home court.
“That’s going to be a huge advantage for us. But it’s also now sudden death for us. Lose and your out, win and we progress.”
The news wasn’t as good for the Greg Irwin-coached Thunderbolt women.
While they have two final games in Newcastle this weekend they have missed out on a finals berth.
Their two losses to Newcastle Hunters and Coffs Harbour Suns at home on the weekend ended their slim chances.
Season-ending injuries to some key players didn’t help Irwin as well as a long and drawn out schedule.
His side went for two- or three-week periods without games, playing a clump of games early but then a large number away. Some games Irwin had just five players to call on.