THE 2012-13 WNBL season has been the making of the Bendigo Spirit.
After nearly folding because of financial issues, the club has defied the experts to post a 16-2 record and sit atop the WNBL ladder.
Crowds are up, general interest in the Spirit has skyrocketed and they now have genuine footing as a national sporting club.
The Spirit have fought their way back from the brink of extinction to be on the verge of, possibly, an historic first championship.
That fighting spirit was on show again yesterday.
The news that Bendigo – if it finishes minor premier and wins its first play-off game – is not guaranteed to host the WNBL grand final came as a shock to the club.
Up until yesterday it was seen as a given that whoever wins the second semi-final, most likely between Bendigo and Dandenong, would earn that right to host the grand final.
Not the case.
It seems at this stage that Basketball Australia would prefer to play the WNBL grand final at the new Knox Stadium in Melbourne.
The main reasons appear to be that the capacity is greater and it’s more cost effective for television broadcaster the ABC. The Spirit dug their heels in yesterday and have vowed to fight Basketball Australia.
A Spirit home grand final should shape as a promoters dream for Basketball Australia and the ABC.
Imagine the Spirit playing in their first WNBL grand final on their home court and it’s Kristi Harrower’s final game before retirement.
There’s a lot of basketball to be played before that scenario could unfold, but it sounds like just the exposure the WNBL needs.
Related coverage: Victory to seal top-two berth for Spirit