BASKETBALL: Grafton Vikings will be hoping a big home crowd can help them get over a form slump and secure a home grand final in the inaugural Sunshine Conference.
Grafton takes on Lismore Storm tomorrow night at the Grafton Sports Centre at 6pm in their semi-final, with the winner automatically securing a grand final berth.
Vikings coach Robert Blinman said his side has struggled to field a full strength side the past two weeks due to injury and sickness, and it was having an impact on their performances.
"Our shooting has let us down in the last couple of games," he said.
"If we can pick that up by just 10%, we will win comfortably, but finding that 10% can be the challenge. In a semi-final with the season on the line, it's easier said than done, but we've been speaking about it at training.
"I think we will go well. There seems to be a lot of confidence, and when the boys are talking like that it's a good sign the confidence is high without being too cocky."
The Vikings have every right to be confident, finishing the season as minor premiers in the first year of the Sunshine Conference.
Despite Lismore Storm finishing on the bottom of the conference table, Blinman said his team wasn't taking their opponents lightly.
"The competition is that close that you can't afford to rest," he said.
"In their last game they lost to Byron Bay by 14 points, but were leading at three-quarter time. They've stepped up their game, and have been a bit unlucky this year losing a few close games.
"Lismore have got a lot of big boys, and we haven't played them with their full team either. I don't think it will cause any major concerns, but we haven't seen a couple of their guys in this competition before, so it's a little bit of an unknown."
Blinman said he hoped for a big home crowd to turn out and support both teams tomorrow night.
"It would be great to have a decent crowd and a good atmosphere, the boys would like it," he said.