The Wellington Saints have dismantled arch enemy Southland Sharks for the second time this season, this time it was a 122-77 thumping down south at ILT Stadium. A 45-point margin that will rock the home team. Photos by Richard Dimmock Photography
It comes on the back of a similar thumping on Saturday night when the Saints cleaned-up the Supercity Rangers 108-75. All tolled, the Saints finished the weekend with two wins and a collective scoreline of 230-152.
Celebrating their 10th season, chances are the Sharks will be cautious in opening the history books because this merciless belting may be the biggest losing margin they’ve endured. If not the largest, it will be in the top few.
After eclipsing the Sharks 126-102 in R3, the Saints showed little mercy this time either, using a barnstorming 35-14 second period to put the contest to bed before the long-break.
As the locals sat silent and somewhat stunned, both Sunday Dech and Jordan Ngatai had their own inner-team shootout in the first half, the Saints duo landing blow after blow as they collectively finished the half with 32pts – which was 2pts more than the entire Sharks team had scored.
One thing all teams will take note of is the form of teams coming off the Tasmanian trip. The Saints scraped through with a 2pt win against the Jets off the back of their trip to play the Huskies, while the Sharks have fallen to both the Rams and the Saints a week after their venture to Tassie.
Back in R4 the Rangers fell hard to the Giants in their next clash after playing away to the Huskies.
A 40-23 third period by the Saints emphasised just how flat the Sharks were, but more importantly it signalled to everyone that last year’s runners-up are not in the mood to go easy in any situation this season. The Saints are after redemption and an 8-0 unbeaten start in 2019 has them focused on the main prize.
With more than 8-minutes to play the Saints surpassed triple figures. Nick Kay, Shea Ili and Reuben Te Rangi were also getting in on the action and dropping baskets at will. Kay in particular dominated after half-time, commanding respect at both ends of the floor.
Try as he might, at times it seemed as though Jarrad Weeks was fighting a lone hand. Dom Kelman-Poto finished with some late points, joining Weeks as the only two Sharks in double-digits.
In a telling stat, Todd Blanchfield was held to just 6pts, which comes days after being held to 4pts by the Rams.
For the Saints, six players finished with 11pts or more.
Such was their dominance, the Saints shot at 53%, dropped 21 triples at 48%, dished out a whopping 29 assist and swiped 15 steals.
Sitting clear at the top of the Sal’s NBL ladder, the signs are ominous. The Saints are taking no prisoners in season 2019.
Southland Sharks 77 lost to Wellington Saints 122
Sharks – Jordan Ngatai 24pts & 6 treys, Sunday Dech 24pts & 6 treys, Nick Kay 20pts, 7rbs, 8ast & 5stl, Shea Ili 16pts & 8ast, Reuben Te Rangi 14pts, 7rbs & 6ast.
Saints – Jarrad Weeks 18pts, Dom Kelman-Poto 16pts.
Stats That Matter – 21 triples at 48%, 29 assists, 15 steals …. need we say more?
Sal’s Pizza MVP – Nick Kay (Saints) with 20pts @ 72%, 7rbs, 8ast, 6stl, 2blk and 2 treys.
The Saints are on a mission – make no mistake, last year’s runners-up have redemption on their mind and they will willingly steamroll any opponent with zero mercy. At no stage did the visitors take the foot off the pedal in this game, it seemingly looked like they took great pleasure in rubbing their arch enemy’s nose in it.
The ‘Tassie Travel’ factor is about to be spoken about loudly across the league. Other than the Saints, who very luckily escaped with a 2pt win against the Jets, every other team returning from Tasmania has looked utterly flat and come out winless.
The Sharks are on the slide and need to turn it all around very quickly. Losses to the Rams and Saints this round has deflated them and next up they have the hot Hawks paying them a visit for Thursday Night Lights. Get in front of your television next Thursday night folks because we’re about to see what the reigning champs are made on.