Lost in a myriad of mulch, highlighted by the pale moonlight, a way off a dizzying path found in strengthened lights crossing over the Warm Up Arena. Chants of "Shout it, shout it along," beamed from speakers hoisted 50 metres high and stragglers from the Royal Easter Show were also in the stream. Coaxed into a steady flow toward Sydney Olympic Parks' State Sport Centre, aka the Pig Pen, venue for Game Four of the NBL Championships.
Visually unappealing from the outer, the inner fares from a weak mix of tomato sauce, wood chip and a little body sweat. Not at all overpowering, but there for the keen snorters. Air conditioning notably absent. Collective heat from all the people like a downtrodden sauna ready for a tune-up and kick start.
Rather limited at a capacity of around 4000 seated, an instant impression of a packed house is given. Extremely rigid are the hard plastic chairs of the bleachers. Holes formed from what must have been syringes dripping acid are marked on the seats. Rocking a wild back results in either a knee or a solid wall of concrete backed wood. Yet with all that, the seats are close to the action, intimate is the feeling here.
While the tickets read "West Sydney Razorbacks versus Sydney Kings" the scoreboards, clearly positioned at diagonals, played a different game. Up there in LED lights, RAZO vs KING. Rival to their size, FOX Sports Live and their vidscreen. Blurry in fine detail, replays were a nice relief awaiting the lull following calls of the whistle.
Out from the tip-off, it took near three minutes before the nil all was taken off the score. Laboured, the points were hardly blinking up in rapid succession.
Jack the Razorback was damn pathetic and lethargic in attitude. Lying on the court was the start of its slow-go demeanour. In the second quarter the singlet was gone and a fine cut of abdominal and pectoral muscles displayed themselves above draw-string pants. Holstered in the waist, a light sword of the ninja kind. Brandishing unsheathed metal would have been out of the question. That still didn't stop Jack from running around threatening people with it.
Dwight's stand down on the court weren't whooping it up much at all. They even had a letter D and a cutout of a white picket fence. Sadly it was not put to use at all during the game. At all. Damn them. On the other, Kings fans were concentrated out of an entire block and provided the loudest support for the game.
Half-time entertainment brought on the Lazors and the sole male in their lot. Not content with that tokenism in their ranks the mini-lazors also had a male roping in the cheer. Singing tunes, Jessica Smith belted out Delta Goodrem's Born to Try and Shania Twain's Man, I Feel Like a Woman with varying bouts of energy. High notes of the second song were seriously affected by a voice still young and wavering. A dance-off competition was thrown together and showed no signs of impartiality. One guy, breakdancing, flailing and throwing about his mad skillz and rubbing up close to the sponsor's models was overlooked for some poor sap mixed into the midsection of banality.
John Rillie flamed a hot streak pocketing a run of three-pointers matched quietly by the Kings. Time outs were used to quell his burn. Six minutes into the final quarter, Russel Hinder pretty much smacked CJ Bruton which saw a scuffle break out that bled into the other on-court team mates raising their elbows and grabbing the singlets. Kings fans were quick to break out a chant of "Simon's a wanker!" Minutes later, "CJ's a wanker!" roared from home crowd in rebuttal.
Ninety seconds on the clock. Razorbacks notice a deficit on their team foul count for close against the 5 owned by the Kings. Rectifying this, Razorback arms hit every Kings player available. Wild and steady, the count matched 5 all and Kings visit the free throw line. Steady and sure, Brett Wheeler tipped in his shots at the charity strip to put the game out of reach of the home team. Matthew Nielsen also took a turn at the line and definitely closed the game with few seconds to spare.
Kings win over the Razorbacks, 82-77. Series tied, two games a piece. Game 5 to decide.
- Kings vs Razorbacks - NBL Grand Finals: Game 1
- Kings vs Razorbacks - NBL Grand Finals: Game 3
- Kings vs Razorbacks - NBL Grand Finals: Game 5
Reviewed on Monday, 5 April 2004