Funny Classics - 18 BOYS
It's late, it's long and it's just what I think ....
Under 18 Boys
Coach: Kim Jury
Strengths: Confidence, Balance, Talent.
Possible Weakness: Attitude.
Players to watch: Brown, Slaghekke, Hemmings ('05 18 Metro), Scott ('03 16 Metro), Florance (2 time Metro res.)
Quick look: A very talented six will decide this team's weekend. The names above have a lot of expectations and if my State Champs MVP Slaghekke can give as much inside as he did in May they may be able to compete with the bigger Victoria sides. They come across as arrogant and loud and this group relies on their confidence just like the best Tiger teams of the past. If they fall in a hole that confidence may turn around and become this team's worst enemy.
Coach: Mark Molitor
Strengths: Size, Confidence, Go-To players.
Possible Weakness: Depth.
Players to watch: Molitor ('05 18 Metro), Long ('03 16 Metro), Cameron.
Quick look: Mark Molitor is as well credentialed as any junior coach in S.A. and certainly knows how to win. Cameron showed in May that he has the leadership abilities many have been waiting to see from him while the diverse skills of Chris Molitor makes him always hard to match up on. The key to this group is how Long and Co. perform and if they can give enough support the Bearcats will show why they are the #2 S.A. side going into this weekend.
Coach: Paul Rigoni
Strengths: Size, Experience, Discipline.
Possible Weakness: Firepower.
Players to watch: Dodman, Gavranich, Huxford ('05 18 Country), Gemo, Blood ('05 18 Metro).
Quick look: Clearly the Sabres have some depth and talent and Dodman is certainly a star of the future. To me this team looks too drilled and lacking in some of that attitude that the Tigers strive on. If the Sabres can show some true grit this weekend then look out because they definitely have the talent.
Coach: Peter Berry
Strengths: Depth, Experience, Fundamentals.
Possible Weaknesses: Size and Age.
Players to watch: Fisher ('03 16 Metro), Krake, Giovinne, Bradbrook, Johnson ('04 16 Metro)
Quick look: This Flames side has been talked about a fair bit on this site in the past and has certainly surprised a few of their critics (including me). While success in the Summer and to a lesser extent at State Champs is something they should definitely be proud of it will be interesting to see how they stack up against the bigger, stronger Victorian sides. The Flames lack a real strong presence inside (not trying to take away from what Johnson and Giovinne have been doing,) in comparison to what they'll be facing and while they are clearly a talented group they just don't seem as talented yet as those teams they'll have to face this weekend.
Coach: David Laurie
Strengths: Depth, Depth and hmmm Depth.
Possible Weakness: Firepower.
Players to watch: Seebohm, Hamilton ('05 18 Country), Harvey, Fildes ('05 18 Metro), Wernham ('05 18 NT), Cheater ('03 16 Metro), Csono ('04 16 Metro), DeCure (Metro reserve).
Quick look: Definitely the deepest of all the Under 18 S.A. teams but depth isn't enough. This team is a lot like Sturt in that talent has always been enough and they've never had to show the fight and attitude of the Tigers. I'm sure they have it, now is the time to show it! I really like the balance of this side from its guard rotation of Seebohm, Hamilton, Harvey and even the exciting Boonstoppel to the bigs of Fildes, Csono, Werham, Cheater and the athletic DeCure. Plenty of talent; will that be enough.
Coach: Michael Mackenroth
Strengths: Balance, Heart, Quicks.
Possible Weakness: no BIG names
Players to watch: Kargins ('05 SA Metro), Hoffman
Quick look: a good strong Division One side but to me that's what most if not all of this side consists of. They're made up of good Division one players but at Classics that kind of talent normally isn't enough. That being said a team with the heart and fire of this Warriors side is always going to be capable of over achieving and its weekends like these that are a perfect chance to show people like me wrong!
Group A: Melbourne, Norwood, Forestville, Kilsyth.
The Eagles failure at State Champs gives them the better draw this weekend. Forestville are clearly the deepest of the SA sides going over and in an event like this with 3 tough games in one day that depth could prove a key. Melbourne would be tipped by everyone to have few troubles getting through this group undefeated while Kilsyth may prove a challenge for both the Flames and Eagles. Norwood has surprised most so far this year but I still don't think they have enough to compete with Forestville. The Flames are young and this will be a good experience for a side which apart from Fisher will rely on their bottom age players. I'm tipping Forestville to make the top 8 from this group with Norwood battling Kilsyth for third in the pool.
Group B: Dandenong, Sturt, Woodville, Werribee
Sturt and Woodville would be quite happy with the group they're in. Sturt with Dodman become a big talented side and should have enough to go through in the top eight. Dandenong are currently undefeated and while the Sabres at their best could push the Rangers I'd suggest that Dandenong would get through this group undefeated. Werribee are an interesting side, with a number of talented players but just not quite enough to go with the best in the VJBL. Both Woodville and Sturt would be looking to beat them and therefore battle each other for a final 8 spot.
Group C: Nunawading, West Adelaide, Geelong, Diamond Valley.
A tough group for the Bearcats. Nunawading's one loss against the Rangers is nothing to be ashamed about and the Spectres would be comfortable favourites to come out on top of this group. Diamond Valley and Geelong would both also be focused on a top eight finish meaning the Bearcats will have to fight hard for any wins on Saturday. I'm tipping the Eagles to sneak in while the Bearcats and Cats will be the unlucky ones just outside the top eight.
Group D: Darebin, Southern, Canberra, McKinnon.
Darebin were surprisingly impressive at Easter making the semi finals and the two Canberra sides both also showed a lot of class. McKinnon's results so far this VJBL season suggest they'll also be tough to beat. Southern are clearly on a roll at the moment and full of confidence. If the side stays disciplined they definitely have the talent to come out of this group 3-0.
RJ's Final Four: 1.Melbourne, 2. Dandenong, 3. Nunawading, 4. Southern Tigers.
SA Predicted Final Placing: Southern 1 - 4, Sturt 5 - 8, Forestville 5 - 8, West Adelaide 9 - 12, Norwood 13 - 16, Woodville 13 - 16.