ASK any of the Coffs Harbour Suns players how much they enjoy playing a game on the home court at Sportz Central and they will all say that it’s a buzz.
When the Suns travel on the road, the three Waratah League teams often play in front of crowds that amount to little more than two men and a dog.
Coffs Harbour though is renowned for having the biggest crowds at its matches and playing coach of the men’s team Matt Shanahan says that there’s nothing better than playing in front of a noisy home crowd.
“It’s definitely a big advantage,” Shanahan said.
“Last week for the youth league game the boys played in front of nearly 200 people and it always drive you to do better
“Having the home court advantage is great and it makes a difference. When we play away there’s hardly anyone there but when we play at home you can see that the opposition become a bit flustered, especially if we get a bit of a scoring run going.”
A big crowd is expected tonight as the men’s and women’s teams play their first home games of the season as part of a big triple header of basketball.
The youth league team will face Maitland with a 4.00pm tip-off on Court 2, while the women play at the same time on the main court against Bellinger Valley.
The men’s team who are desperate for a win face arch rival Grafton at 6.00pm.
Shanahan says that playing against Grafton is perfect for his team.
“It doesn’t matter where either team is on the ladder it’s always going to be a tough game,” he said.
“Both teams get fired up for it and I’ve only been here a year and I already know how important this game is to both teams.”
Shanahan is also in charge of the youth league team and he says that this evening’s result will tell a lot about the up-and-coming Suns.
“The boys have been doing really well but the test is this week against Maitland who are also 2-0,” he said.
The ladies have a local derby of their own when they face Bellinger Valley.
The Suns are expected to win but sometimes that can be a recipe for disaster.
“The games that you’re expected to win are always danger games,” Shanahan warned.
“The girls are fired up, though, because there’s a healthy rivalry with Bellinger Valley being so close together geographically.
“There’s also a few former Coffs players playing for Bellingen now.”
Waratah League matches at Sportz Central tonight.
4.00pm: Suns youth v Maitland
4.00pm: Suns women v Bellinger Valley
6.00pm: Suns men v Grafton