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Grand Final countdown - Remembering 2010

Ahead of this weekend's Game 1 of the State Championship Men's Grand Final between Waverley and Ringwood, we're putting the spotlight on the big event with a series of feature stories. Check back each day for a new gem and we get excited for the weekend! Remember to get down to the Falcons Nest this Sunday, August 27 at 2pm for the big game.

Today it's a look back on the famous 2010 Grand Final series between Waverley and Ringwood, where the origins of this great rivalry began and one of the great upsets in Big V history. There are echoes of 2017 in this tale and more than a few very familiar names, despite the seven years that have passed.

How the Falcons found themselves in the  2010 Grand Final: The Falcons were consistent performers in the late 2000s in Big V Men with veteran teams that always made finals. These were they days of the NBL stacked Melbourne Tigers (practically unbeatable) and future SEABL outfits Dandenong and Sandringham (nearly unbeatable), so simply making finals was a big effort. Winning finals was another thing altogether. The cycle broke in 2009 when the Falcons took a step back, with most of the veterans moving on and a transition year yearning less wins and a rare finals miss.
Some important inclusions in 2010 saw the Falcons back up and about. Point Guard and Big V legend Sedale Threatt Jrn sparked a new attitude in the group and the wins began stacking up. A third place finish gave the Falcons a semi-final matchup with Diamond Valley. After winning Game 1 at home, the Falcons lost game two at DV, returning the next day for a fiery and physical Game 3. It was a massive slog but the Falcons got up in rousing fashion, setting up a Grand Final matchup with the first placed Ringwood Hawks.

Ringwood: In the post Melbourne Tigers glory days, Dandenong and Sandringham Big V, Ringwood immediately imposed themselvesd as a real power. The things Ringwood did well then are the things they still do now, they keep a consistent, balanced roster, with minimal turnover and the ability to add the right imports to compliment the core group. They did, do and always have been able to shoot the ball sensationally well. Their 2010 team was led by then current NBL player Darryl Coreltto, former NBL player Luke McMillan and future NBL import Kevin Rastczh. Point Guard Matt Snowball ran the offense and was effective in creating good shots for all their star players.

The series: Not many pundits gave Waverley a huge chance heading into the series, and this proved to be an accurate assessment after Ringwood comfortably took Game 1 on Waverley's home court. The margin was out past double figures in the second quarter and the Falcons could only get is as far back as 11. The Falcons faced the unenviable task to going to Ringwood the next weekend to try and force the series to three games, the third of which would also be at Ringwood. Two wins in a weekend against the best team was going to be tough, really tough.

Game 2 was the real head scatcher in this series. The deciding game is always scrappy given the teams are playing twice in two days, but Game 2 saw both teams go in fresh, and the final margin took many by suprise. The Falcons took a renewed energy into the game at the defensive end. It was clear that beating Ringwood in a shootout was probably not going to happen, so the only other option was to throw everything into locking them down on defense. It worked, the Hawks could only muster 58 points in Game 2, over 30 points less than what they put up at Waverley in Game 1. Both teams shot poorly in Game 2, but the Falcons were a little better from the three point line and got to the foul line heaps more. When it became apparent both teams would be back for Game 3 the next day, the game trailed out and the margin ended up 28 points in favour of the Falcons.

As mentioned before, Game 3 was scrappy, and a bit chippy. Players were tired and sore, the series had gotten physical and points became especially hard to come by. The game was in the balance heading into the fourth quarter, when the Falcons suddenly found the offensive spark they needed to break away. Their 27 point last quarter proved the difference, it was the quarter which delivered the unlikeliest of championships, two wins on the 1st placed team's home court. Sedale Threatt Jnr was named Grand Final MVP in a series which felt like a bit of a throwback to the days of old, the passion and rivalry was really something to see. 

What came next: The Falcons went on to make it back-to-back championships in 2011, this time getting the better of a star-studded Eltham Wildcats, winning in Double OT at home in Game 1, and another nailbiter at Eltham in Game 2. The Hawks have gone on to appear in pretty much every Grand Final series since then, with plenty of championship success on display at The Rings. Teams have come and gone in Big V since then, Eltham had their run at the top (and their back around it again) and Corio Bay came in and have had championship success as well, but the Hawks and the Falcons have been strong and consistent throughout that time.

The 2010 team: It was a mix of savvy vets and hungry young players that made up the 2010 Falcons roster, led by Coach Eric Minverve. Here is the team that lifted the banner after Game 3:

Sedale Threatt Jnr: One of the great guards of the Big V, Sedale had already had a storied career by the time he arrived at Waverley, but he continued to make a big impact on the team right up until last season. Sedale is now a well known academy coach and leader with AUBD.

Ivan Platenik: A Falcons stalwart from the early 2000s up until last season, Ivan accumulated points and rebounds like few else could. After his long stint with Waverley, Ivan played for McKinnon this season.

Vashon Weaver: A man of tremeandous muscle, V came to the Falcons after nearly a decade playing for Latrobe City. The dream weaver was a great veteran presence for the Falcons, as he cotinues to be now back home in Traralgon playing Division 1 for Latrobe City.

Simon Blennerhassett: There may be no more underrated player in the Big V this past decade. The 'German Shephard' (or the Blender) was a lock-down defender, sharp shooter and creater of the dribbler. Most of all he was a great leader and championship captain, now back in his hometown Perth, where he used to play NBL for the WIldcats,

Marc Goodwin: Goody game to the Falcons from Latrobe City as well, a highly rated young guard who provided a big spark in the finals. He's still getting up and down the floor for Melbourne Uni in Division 1.

Tom Boyle: Tommy has remained at fixture in the Falcons men's team since this Grand Final. The big man has always been a great three point shooter and continues to help spread the floor for the Falcons.

Kevin Benn: Big Kev is back with the Falcons this year, a strong man and great inside presence who has battled serious injuries since last playing at Waverley, can always be counted on to grab some big rebounds.

Elias Palioyiannis: The current Falcons coach had a distinguished playing career, once hitting 10 threes in a game at Traralgon before becoming a championship winning coach in his first Big V coaching season. This year coached both Championshio Men and Women to top 3 finishes.

Jason Conway: J-Conn was one of the great leapers off two feet and a quality jumpshooter, his Big V career continued with Maccabi and Melboune Uni after his time at Waverley.

Andrew Kelly: Came deep off the bench to score the final basket in Game 3, Andrew has been at Sherbrooke and Hawthorn since the Grand Final and currently plays Division 1 for Chelsea Gulls.

Coach Eric Minerve: Eric is back in the league now coaching the Casey Cavaliers. Rod Denman and Mike Bullock were Eric's assistants and Leila was Team Manager.

Our 2017 team features Tommy and Kev from this team, as well as Elias now as Head Coach. Catch them in action this Sunday, August 27 at 2pm at the Falcons Nest.

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