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The Final bounce

23 Mar 06 22:20
Australian basketballer Jason Smith. 

Australian basketballer Jason Smith.

After nine entertaining and exciting days of competition it comes down to the Basketball Final, between Australia's 'Boomers' and their highly competitive neighbours the New Zealand 'Kiwis'.

Remarkably, both playoff Finals are an exact replica of the Women’s Basketball Finals, with Nigeria playing England for the bronze, and Australia playing New Zealand for the coveted gold.

The bronze medal match is played at the Multi Purpose Venue (MPV) at 6:00pm and the big one at the same venue at 8:00pm.

The match between the South Pacific neighbours is the biggest since the 2001 series when New Zealand upset Australia 2-1 to advance to the 2002 World Championships over the much fancied Aussie team.

Australian coach Brian Goorjian knows just how important the match is.

"This is a really important time for [Australian] Basketball. There is a lot of pressure on us to win gold. We want to come out and play great Basketball and win well. That is what we have been doing all tournament," he said.

The Boomers Co-Captain C.J.Bruton said the atmosphere inside the MPV is unbelievable and the team really wanted to win gold to show their appreciation to the parochial crowd that had supported them throughout their whole campaign in the Commonwealth Games.

Australian veterans, Jason Smith, Sam McKinnon and Co-Captain Tony Ronaldson are all hyped at the prospect of winning gold in front of their home crowd as all three grew up in Melbourne. They also played in the Sydney Olympics bronze medal play-off and have vivid memories of losing that match and coming fourth.

New Zealand’s coach, Tab Baldwin said his side will not be intimidated by their opponents and will play a really tough brand of basketball, and will match it with the Australians.

“They have beaten us so many times,” he said, "We’ll be there to play; it’s our turn to rise to the occasion. Actually, I think the fact it's a gold-medal game is secondary to us. The fact it's Australia will be primary,'' he said.

England will be looking to reproduce the same intensity it displayed in its 101-75 Semi Final loss to Australia, when they take on Nigeria in the Bronze Medal Match at 6pm.

Nigeria coach Sani Ahmed said his side will struggle to match England's physical presence of experienced players such as John Amaechi, Andrew Sullivan and Julius Joseph.

Ahmed believes the shooting powers of Ejike Ugboaja, Nnadubem Muoneke and Captain Abdul Mohammed could pose a real danger to England's defence, which struggled to shut down Australia's perimeter shooters in the second half of the Semi Final.

For more Basketball results, visit the Basketball Schedule and Results section of this Website.

- Games News Service

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