GETTING IN THE SPIRIT

LW: Well Magpie, it's that time of the year again - the WNBL finals.

And just like last year, our Bendigo Spirit enter the finals as the minor premiers and clearly the team to beat as they chase their second championship in a row.

What a home and away season it has been for the Spirit, who have been near unbeatable for the past two years.

Their 22-2 record gave them a six-game buffer clear at the top of the ladder from their second semi-final opponents this Sunday, Dandenong.

When you add in last season's 24-3 record through the home and away rounds and finals, the Spirit are now 46-5 in their past 51 games since they missed the finals in 2011-12.

But as dominant as the Spirit has been during the home and away season, it counts for nothing now.

All it has done is give the Spirit the opportunity to host this weekend's second semi-final against the Rangers.

Hopefully, just like last season a big Bendigo crowd gets behind the Spirit as they chase another home-court grand final berth in a fortnight.

KA: The Spirit have no doubt been the best team in the competition for the past two seasons, Westy.

All of their hard work and consistency has paid off and now they are into another finals series. 

It is great to see all the girls still have the hunger to back up their success of last year. 

New faces have rejuvenated the side, with Sara Blicavs, Tessa Lavey and Elyse Penaluna added to the roster. 

Despite Penaluna's injury the trio have added an X-factor. 

I am excited to see how they will perform on Sunday. 

LW: A real bonus for the Spirit now is that as a club, they have that big-game experience to draw on from last year's successful finals campaign.

As for the hunger you speak of, that was certainly typified by last weekend's demolition of the Logan Thunder.

It was a game where the Spirit had nothing to gain from a ladder perspective and they were playing one of this season's strugglers.

It would have been easy for the Spirit to just go through the motions, do what it had to do to get the win and then turn its attention to what it's all about - the finals.

But it was anything but for the Spirit with a 29-point belting of the Thunder, led by another superb performance from All-Star Gabe Richards.

KA: Yes, it seems Gabe Richards wins an award every week for her stellar season. 

The team is definitely full of match-winners and watching the girls go through some shooting practice, they are on target for a good game. 

I hope Bendigo can again support the team like they did last year. 

The crowd plays a huge part of the game, so I am expecting to see the crowd make some noise on Sunday. 

LW: At least Sunday's game will be indoors.

What about the weather our outdoor sports have had to endure over the past three Saturdays.

First it was the heat two weeks in a row that caused most sport to be called off, then it was the rain last Saturday that created problems, particularly for cricket. Good signs this Saturday, though, for a sunny 28 degrees.

KA: Yes, this weather is playing havoc with weekend sports. I haven't been coping with the heat too well. A lot of restless nights. 

Hopefully, the heavens above play nice this weekend and we get to see some cricket action and another Spirit win. 

I will be there cheering the team on. 

LW: Oh, too bad Magpie, look at that, we're all out of space.

Looks like we can't talk any AFL NAB Challenge this week. What a pity, hey.

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