Jets and Broncos set for Big V finals prequel

SUNBURY Jets and Hume City Broncos will effectively play a prequel to their semi-finals clash the following week when the first and fourth placed Big V Championship Men’s sides go at it in the final round of the regular season on Saturday. Minor premiers Sunbury will travel to Broadmeadows fully knowing they will return home the next week where they will host Hume in a knockout semi-final. Having only dropped one game all season, the Jets are strong favourites for the clash, though the Broncos have earned their spot in the post-season series with an 11-9 record themselves.

Sunbury Jets are coming off a 35-point thrashing of Blackburn at home, and realistically have gone almost four months without a loss. Their sole defeat came way back in Round 4 when they went down to Wyndham by 21 points. That proved to be an aberration as they have won 16 on the trot since and show no signs of slowing down. Hume City come in with some great form as well, having pantsed Chelsea by 40 points last week, but were coming off back-to-back losses to McKinnon and shockingly, the struggling Western Port. A nine-point win over Wyndham in Round 14 shows just how inconsistent the Broncos could be, and also how they can match it with the best.

Both sides are no stranger to scoring, with Ishmael Sanders putting up a massive 26.8 points per game, converting 33.2 per cent of his three-point attempts (88 total), while managing 56 per cent accuracy from inside the arc. He has also averaged 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Maxwell Barkeley (15.8 points – including 40.6 per cent from long-range – 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists) is also a strong shooter, with Nathan Marshall (4.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals) the ultimate team player while contributing eight points per game. Bigs Gerald Blackshear (14.0 points, 8.7 rebounds) and Trevon Clayton (13.5 points, 11.4 rebound) are two that Hume will have to worry about in the key.

Hume City have a real balanced lineup, which can make the Broncos really unpredictable. Chris Elder is a dynamic shooter, averaging a team-high 20.8 points, 4.5 assists and 2.6 steals per game, as well as 3.7 rebounds, making him an all-round performer. Makuei Puondak (16.3 points, 8.6 rebounds) is the only other player to play all 20 games this season, with that lack of continuity a key reason why the Broncos have struggled for consistency. Max Viitala (11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals) has managed the 17 games and been a key contributor in the Broncos’ run to the finals.

Around the courts and the only other predictability close game is between fifth placed Camberwell Dragons and sixth placed Western Port. Neither will move from their spots, but dominant shooters Luke Shelley and Troyce Manassa will go head-to-head to see which one of their sides can finish on a high. Second placed Wyndham will face off against cellar dwellers Chelsea Gulls, while third placed McKinnon Cougars travel east to wrap up their regular season against Blackburn Vikings before having a date with Wyndham in the semi-finals.


Saturday, July 30:

Blackburn Vikings vs. McKinnon Cougars @ Mullum Mullum Stadium
Western Port Steelers vs. Camberwell Dragons @ Somerville Recreation Centre
Hume City Broncos vs. Sunbury Jets @ Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium
Wyndham vs. Chelsea Gulls @ Eagle Stadium

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