Vikings step back into the cage in showdown with Suns
- Grafton Vikings v Coffs Harbour Suns
- Grafton Indoor Sports Centre
- Saturday, February 20 6.30pm
BASKETBALL: Grafton basketball fans will have something to cheer about this weekend as local basketball side Grafton Vikings step it up a level in competition against the Coffs Harbour Suns.
The match is a chance at redemption for the Vikings, who lost by three points when the sides battled at the end of last year in Coffs Harbour.
Tomorrow's match will be a last pre-season trial for the Suns as they prepare to join NSW State League basketball, but for the Vikings it signals the beginning of a step up in competition from recent years as they head towards the start of the Far North Coast league mid-year.
With the return of top-line competition, Grafton Vikings president Rob Blinman said he hopes it could see the return of the crowd numbers at the Grafton Indoor Sports Centre.
"The Suns are just a different level of competition to our local competition that the boys play in," he said.
"It is very good for the new boys and the older guys trying to get back into it.
"We have desperately missed it up this way for quite a while, there seems to be a lot of people who speak about the old days, what it was like back in the 'Cage' with all the fans packed in."
Grafton took the Coffs Harbour Suns to the limit in their last encounter but will need to rely on the experience within their ranks as the Suns look to bring a full-strength unit up the Pacific Highway.
"It is absolutely going to be a tough one for our side as they are preparing for their run in State league next month," Vikings co-captain Dan Boorman said.
"They only just got us when we went down there last time but they are looking to be full strength this weekend but we are out there to defend our home court."
Boorman admitted the jump in competition at the home court is something particularly special for the Vikings junior basketball contingent who will now get to see a pathway for further development in the sport on a local level.
"Before the juniors just transitioned to under 18s and then there was nothing. At least they now know there is something to aim up at."
With entry into the game set at a gold coin per person, Boorman said it was a relatively cheap event.
"Being at only a gold coin it will be a pretty cheap night out for the family and they get to watch a pretty high standard game of basketball," he said.
"This game is great for the fans of basketball in Grafton and I know there is a few of them out there."