Thoughts quickly turned towards shutting down hosts Bendigo Braves for Richard Dickel on his Launceston Tornadoes’ sixth consecutive road trip for Saturday night.
Just hours after reaching the SEABL south conference grand final, the Tornadoes coach was starting to break down and pull apart how to conquer a fierce top rival.
Bendigo has outplayed Launceston twice this year.
First the visitors to Elphin Sports Centre earned a clear 98-78 victory and then a 90-74 win back on the Braves’ home court last month.
In addition to overturning past results, Dickel has to prepare against a revitalised side ready to flex its muscle from having 14 days off.
“Obviously, Bendigo is a very good team, first of all, and play very deep,” he said.
“But we’re feeling pretty confident on what we can do if we deliver the right things.
“We’ll get to work this week like the last couple of weeks, and hope to come out and put another good performance on the board.”
The fourth-ranked south conference finalist has overcome trips to Hobart for a 86-82 semi-final victory and at Dandenong to win 83-78 in Sunday’s preliminary final.
Dickel has said the finals series has, in fact, lifted the burden off the Torns from the grind of the regular season.
“We’ve won two games different ways, and our defence has got a lot better throughout both games,” he said.
“We’re learning and we’re only getting better.
“Like I’ve always said, this is a new season and we’re half way through that season.”
A third straight playoff win on the road will send the Torns into the SEABL championship final at Kilsyth on Saturday week, but the venue could be a home decider for Kilsyth should it win its east conference grand final.