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Vickerman, Goulding eagerly awaiting Playoff opponent

21 Feb
3 mins read

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Melbourne United Media

Melbourne United will have to wait until March 7 for their first game of the NBL24 Finals

Despite an 18 day break in between Melbourne United’s final regular season game and their first game of the Playoffs, both captain and coach remain confident they will be ready to perform regardless who the opponent is.

As a result of finishing on top of the table with a league-best 20-8 record, United's path forward is unclear due to the nature of the NBL’s ‘Play-In’ tournament.

This, combined with the current FIBA Break, means Melbourne’s stars will have to battle against each other for close to three weeks before their first Playoff hit-out.

Speaking at the NBL Finals Launch on Tuesday, Head Coach Dean Vickerman said ensuring they stay ready to bounce back like they have across the entire season will be crucial moving forward.

“The core of who we are is about the physicality, the connection… We’re going to play teams that have played two games, so how do we replicate that, how do we prepare ourselves for that,” he explained.

“As you’ve seen through the season, whenever we’ve had a little bit of a poor performance, we’ve really bounced back. 

“Coming off this little break, we’ve got to feel this bounce back right from the get go and make sure mentally there’s a switch there that our intensity is at a crazy level to go ahead and start this Playoff series.”

Across all of NBL24, Melbourne United went without back-to-back losses, going 8-0 with an average winning margin of 13 points after a defeat.

A big reason for this has been the play and leadership of Chris Goulding, who finished second in the league’s MVP voting and was named to the All-NBL First Team on Monday evening.

Looking ahead to the finals, he spoke about how much the finals means to him and this group.

“There’s a reason why we play,” he said.

“The individual awards are nice and a cherry on top but there’s one real reason why we’re here and it’s to win a championship. 

“These two teams (Melbourne United and the Perth Wildcats) are sitting up here because we’ve put ourselves in a good position to do that. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen, a whole new season starts now.”

With so much excitement surrounding Melbourne’s regular season, things are set to only get bigger from here as we move into the Finals.

We need you to UNITE with us as we look to deliver on our goal of a championship.

To stay up to date with all the relevant Finals information, keep your eyes locked on our Finals Hub.

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