Captain confident of keeping Prawn Bowl on home shores
BASKETBALL: Now into its seventh year, the annual Yamba Prawn Bowl continues to expand, this year including teams from as far away as the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Tamworth.
And while the Clarence Valley prides itself on being an inviting place, there are two men who will not be so hospitable come tomorrow morning.
Yamba Trawlers A Grade Men's captain Andy Lombardo and Grafton Vikings A Grade co-captain Sam Wicks both do not want an outside team taking out the competition - a feat they have struggled to stop in the past.
But, this year, that all changes with both captains confident their mix of youth and experience will rise to the top against their tough opponents.
Lombardo said despite his side being a bit of a "thrown together" unit they will be a force throughout the competition.
"The teams are really mixed up with a lot of kids from 14 years old all the way to blokes in their 30s," he said.
"We have a couple of guys who played a fair bit of basketball at junior level but then took some time off. They know the game really well and they know how to structure a side to get the best out of it. When the going gets tough they know how to keep a level head."
Lombardo said his side has the tenacity to score a couple of upset victories against their tougher state-league rivals.
"Despite our lack of skill our hunger for the win is a little bit stronger than a lot of the other teams," he said. "I think we can make the finals on the Sunday and then everything is possible."
Meanwhile the Grafton Vikings have moved into a bi-weekly training regime to prepare for the competition.
"We have been training really well," Wicks said. "I heard there is a Brisbane side coming and they should be really competitive, and I think that should be our goal to match it with that side.
"We have a mix of experience, a few blokes that have played a fair bit of state league and a few who haven't. Young Nick Weller will be a big factor for us, if he can step up for the weekend he will be crucial to our team."
This year there are 10 A Men teams, five A Grade Women, four B Grade Men and four B Grade women. The Junior Prawn Bowl will be played on February 28.