Home crowd support expected to cast aside looming Spectres

STAND UP: Launceston Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington takes control ahead of the grand final qualifier against Nunawading.

STAND UP: Launceston Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington takes control ahead of the grand final qualifier against Nunawading.

Launceston Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington says home-court advantage is paramount to his side’s plans of overturning a midseason loss to Nunawading. 

But the Spectres’ travelling support on Saturday night could too reshape the SEABL women’s preliminary final.

The club in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs were given 100 of the 1100 tickets available amid the limited capacity at Elphin Sports Centre.

But Nunawading have until midweek to sell its full allocation or release remaining tickets back to home fans after the match was sold out last week within three days.

Washington is expecting a raucous crowd akin to a sixth player on court after only a couple hundred attended the only clash at Nunawading on a Sunday afternoon in June.

“Our fans support is just amazing,” he said.

“The crowd is definitely going to make a difference this time around for sure.

“At the end of the day, we’re both in a position to get through to the grand final.

“We’re not looking at the last game we played them – we’re looking forward.

“But we need the crowd support, we need our community support, we need everybody backing us up and that’s definitely going to get us over the hump.”

Only on Sunday could Washington fully start preparing safe in the knowledge the opponents were decided.

Nunawading had earned a 76-54 win over Melbourne Tigers on Saturday night. 

The gameplan will centre around stopping captain Marena Whittle and forward Vanessa Panousis, who are coming off 24 and 22 points. 

“You always prepare for both scenarios,” he said.

“We played Melbourne twice; we played Nunawading once. But Nunawading is a top-four team like us.

“So you have to put them a little bit above just in case.”

The Spectres finished the season with a 13-7 record like the Tornadoes, but have lost five of the past seven games.

The previous 20-point road loss was easily dismissed. 

“We didn’t have all our players then,” the coach said.

“We’re playing differently – playing better right now.

“We’re just clicking now and we understand what we want to do offensively and defensively better.”

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