WARRNAMBOOL Seahawks coach Bobby Cunningham says his side’s regular season win against semi-final opponent Latrobe City Energy will count for little tonight.
The Seahawks recorded a 100-91 win at the Arc in round nine but the Energy was without two of its starting five — Vashon Weaver and Calvin Rees.
Cunningham said Warrnambool, coming off a narrow quarter-final triumph, needed to negate that pair if it was to win a grand final berth.
“They are big, strong bodies and Vashon is more a perimeter player but can go inside so he will be a tough match-up for us,” he said.
“Josh Dean will get that match-up.”
Warrnambool finished the regular season second on the Terrill conference ladder, while Latrobe finished atop the Watson conference table.
The Seahawks finished fourth on the overall ladder, with the Energy taking out top spot.
“They are not on top of the ladder for nothing,” Cunningham said.
“So yeah, we beat them (earlier) but they were missing two players and travelled six hours.
“Now it’s our turn to do the return leg. It’s just that this one means a bit more.
“They are a team that can score the ball well.
“The last game we played them they scored 91 points and we haven’t got close to 91 points in our last five or six games so we have to rely on our defence because we haven’t been scoring that well.”
Cunningham said the Seahawks enjoyed a relaxed week on the practice courts. He expects his young team to start strongly after a shaky start put it on the back foot against Chelsea Gulls in the quarter-final stage.
“I think we should start better than we started on Saturday gone,” Cunningham said.
“The guys have been upbeat. The nerves will probably kick in before the game again.
“We are 40 minutes away from participating in a grand final so the nerves and angst we’re feeling, the other team will be feeling the same.
“All you want is the chance to participate in finals and anything can happen when you get there.”
Cunningham said Latrobe would attract a big crowd, providing Warrnambool with a complete contrast to what it experienced in front of a parochial supporter base at the Arc last weekend.
“I’d relish that. This is a game I’d love to be playing in, going up to a hostile environment and get out with a win,” he said.
“(Our supporter bus) is full so we have to go there and give our best.”
Tip-off is at 7pm today.
Geelong Supercats meet Southern Peninsula Sharks in the other semi-final showdown.
It is scheduled for 8pm today at Geelong Arena.
The semi-final winners will contest a best-of-three grand final series.