Grand Final Preview – Game 18 – Breeze vs Wizards

And so it comes down to two! The Platinum Harbour Breeze and Waikato Wizards will contest the 2020 Sal's NBL 18IN18 Grand Final today (5pm start) in what promises to be a thrilling clash.

The Breeze (6-0) and Wizards (4-2) have both impressed, more so over the last week of competition, and look primed to step up even further in the decider.

The Breeze won through on Friday night over the Kapuna Capital Swish and will come in off a day's break, however the Wizards, who beat the Firebrand Otago Gold Rush in a nail-biter last night, need to back-up again immediately.

Both teams are expected to be at full strength.

Booke Blair (the competition's leading scorer), Ash Kelman-Poto and Ella Fotu will be the keys to a Breeze win, while Kayla Manuirirangi, Esra McGoldrick and Maka Daysh will be the players to look for in Wizards singlets.

The battle of the benches will also be interesting to keep an eye on - the Dream featuring Tiarna Clarke and Jessica Moors, the Wizards with talented pair Arielle Parai and Alana Paewai. All 10 players for both teams are more than capable of delivering, such is the depth of our Grand Finalists.

As for who will win? The Breeze will start warm favourites. They are rested and the stats across the season lean their way, but don't write the Wizards off, they responded every time they were under threat against the Gold Rush in last night's Semi-Final and they are the sort of team that will relish the 'underdogs' tag.

Game on!

WHAT: Sal's NBL 18IN18 Grand Final

WHEN: 5pm Sunday December 6

WHERE: Pulman Arena, south Auckland

COST: Adults $10 | U18s free

CURTAIN RAISER: D-League Final (2:30pm) - Rotorua vs Taranaki



  1. Esra McGoldrick vs Ash Kelman-Poto is where the game could be won or lost. McGoldrick went for 20pts, 14rbs and 6 blocks when the two teams last met, her first quarter was probably the best individual quarter by any player in the whole 18IN18. And then you have Kelman-Poto, who has starred across the season (All Star 5) and is on fire right now. This battle is the one to watch.
  2. Outside shooting isn't a strong suit for either team with both going at sub-30%. However, beware of Brooke Blair (Breeze) and Kayla Manuirirangi (Wizards) because they can land the long shot and are more than capable of getting a hot hand. If either player can make three or four shots from range, it could be a telling factor in the final result.
  3. The coaching battle will be a lot of fun to watch - Jody Cameron vs Leanne Walker - former Tall Ferns alum, now coaching adversaries. How each coach uses the bench will be vital. Both have considerable talent at their disposal. How will they rest their starters, when will they rest them, how will they confront any foul trouble, will they find a diamond off the pine? 

Here's how the two teams stack up head-to-head.


When They Last Met 

Breeze 72 defeated Wizards 57

Breeze: Kelman-Poto 18pts & 8rbs, Blair 16pts, Kailahi-Fulu 11pts & 10rbs.

Wizards: McGoldrick 20pts, 14rbs & 6 blocks, Manuirirangi 15pts, Daysh 6pts & 11rbs.


Breeze Starters

Brooke Blair, Zara Jillings, Ella Fotu, Ash Kelman-Poto, Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu.

Wizards Starters

Jayze'lee Waihi, Kayla Manuirirangi, Pep Flavell, Esra McGoldrick, Maka Daysh. 


Points Per Game 

Breeze 74.7pts / Wizards 65.5pts

Rebounds Per Game

Breeze 42.5 / Wizards 42

Assists Per Game

Breeze 16.7 / Wizards 11.3

Steals Per Game

Breeze 13.7 / Wizards 14.3

Blocks Per Game

Breeze 5.2 / Wizards 5

2pt % Average

Breeze 50.5 / Wizards 39.4

3pt % Average

Breeze 26.9 / Wizards 28.4

Free Throw % Average

Breeze 62.1 / Wizards 69 



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