BENDIGO coach Ben Harvey has no doubt the Braves will come out breathing fire in Saturday night’s semi-final against Geelong.
Harvey admitted the Braves lacked intensity in an 85-72 home SEABL loss to Mount Gambier in the final round on Friday night.
But the Braves still finished on top of the east conference ladder after Geelong surprisingly lost to Knox and will now host the Supercats at Bendigo Stadium from 8pm on Saturday.
“You’ve got to have a bit of luck. We set a goal this year to be 22-6 and we achieved that and we thought we’d be on top, so that happened,” Harvey said.
“Mount Gambier did a good job of making our offence pretty ratty, but that’s okay, we’ve got a home court final this weekend.
“And I can pretty much guarantee we won’t come out with the same intensity this Saturday.”
The Braves have a 1-1 record against Geelong this season and defeated the Supercats by 10 points at Bendigo Stadium in the 13th round.
Harvey is confident his charges have Geelong’s measure.
“I think we’re a better team than Geelong and we’ve proved that this year. We’re looking to come out with a lot more fire in the belly,” he said.
The Braves should be at full-strength against Geelong. Forward Taylor Bell is set to return from a patella tendon injury.
Meanwhile, the Lady Braves have all-but given up on having star centre Elyse Penaluna fit for finals.
Penaluna has not played this season because of a knee injury, although it hasn’t stopped the Lady Braves topping the east conference ladder.
Bendigo will face Sandringham at Bendigo Stadium from 6pm on Saturday night for the right to host the conference final.
Coach Jonathan Goodman is wary of the Sabres, who were one of two teams to win on the Lady Braves’ home floor in the regular season.
“We need big contributions from everybody to make sure that we secure a home conference final,” he said.
“We talked about that it’s nice to finish on top, but we haven’t achieved anything yet. We’ve got to go out there and try to get to a national championship game.”
In other news, the Braves and Lady Braves held their MVP awards on Saturday night.
Imports Ivan McFarlin and Jazz Ferguson shared the Braves MVP, while Lauren King took out the Lady Braves’ award.
Renae Camino was the Lady Braves’ best team player and Maddie Garrick won the coaches award.
Braves captain Chris Hogan and deputy Kevin Probert won coaches awards.
Tickets for Saturday night’s games are on sale from Bendigo Stadium.