Spirit's home final question yet to be answered

The Bendigo Bank Spirit might not be rewarded with a home grand final if it plays in, and wins, the second semi-final.
The Bendigo Bank Spirit might not be rewarded with a home grand final if it plays in, and wins, the second semi-final.

UPDATE: The Bendigo Bank Spirit says it will meet with representatives of the WNBL tomorrow to discuss hosting home finals at Bendigo Stadium this season.

The Spirit has confirmed with the Stadium it can accommodate more than 3000 people with temporary stands.

A Basketball Australia spokesperson said the official position has not yet changed, in that no decisions have been made on the host venues. 

EARLIER: Basketball Australia will not announce the location of the WNBL grand final today, a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said at this point the venue for the grand final hasn't been decided.

"Essentially, there’s a number of factors that dictate where a grand final is held – the teams involved, venue capacity, consultation with ABC but ultimately BA holds the cards in terms of when and where finals are played," the spokesperson said.

"At this point we haven’t confirmed the venue."

Bendigo Stadium CEO Eric Pascoe has pledged to explore "every possible option to accommodate 3000 people".


The Bendigo Bank Spirit might not host the Women's National Basketball League grand final at Bendigo Stadium, even if it wins the second semi-final.

Traditionally, the top-two teams after the home-and-away season play-off in the second semi-final for the right to host the decider.

But, unless the WNBL does a backflip, that is unlikely to be the case for either Bendigo or Dandenong - the teams most likely to finish in the top two spots.

The Bendigo Spirit's official Twitter account tweeted last night: "#BendigoSpirit #DandenongRangers missing out on hosting WNBL G/F 'WOWSERS'."

In another tweet the account went on to say that no official decision has been relayed to the club yet, but the WNBL believes Bendigo Stadium doesn't meet its venue requirements of 3000 capacity.

Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said the club will fight for its right to host the decider.

"I think from our point-of-view there'd certainly be a lot of anger if we were the ones that won the right to host the grand final and couldn't. In a place like Bendigo I think there'd be an all-out war," he said.

"Part of their criteria is that for the grand final and preliminary final is that the stadium has to be able to hold 3000 people.

"We believe as a club we'd be able to put in enough portable seating to fulfil that commitment. 

"Part of what you want to win home court advantage for is so that you can host grand finals and actually make some money out of the game and help the club along. 

"I'm sure Dandenong would be in the same boat, if they win the right to host the grand final I'm sure they'd want to host it at their venue as well and would be just as angry as what we would be.

"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge. It wouldn't go down well with our town, it wouldn't go down with our club, there'd certainly be ramifications for BA (Basketball Australia) or the WNBL if they tried to do that to us."

It is understood the WNBL has booked the State Netball and Hockey Centre for the grand final.

"They're making decisions about things now and they haven't even entered into any negotiations with us - I don't know whether they have with Dandenong," Harrower said.

"But there's been nothing said to us at all about whether our stadium is suitable or unsuitable, they're just making decisions that's suiting them with no negotiations between the club and them."

Bendigo Stadium has previously held Commonwealth Games and Australian Opals matches, with about 2000 people attending Kristi Harrower's 200th match for Australia against Brazil before the London Olympics last year.

More to follow in tomorrow's Bendigo Advertiser.


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