Last night this writer got to go and see the Melbourne Tigers play for the first time.
It was the end of a decades long quest to see the Tigers in action having always lived in the wrong places until finally the Tigers were playing a side just 30 minutes away and I just had to attend.
If it wasn’t for the cars parked along the sides of streets, people wouldn’t of noticed that Rowland Cowan Stadium was having a SEABL match on that night, the place was pretty dark on the outside but you could hear it was much different inside.
Inside there was a high up Snack Bar and a place for people to overlook the action, The Spartans court was one end Corporate, one end Seating and the sides were the same configuration and so we decided to sit at the end of the court instead of the very crowded area that had the Tigers and Spartan bench.
As with most SEABL stadiums, the stands are pretty rocky as movement was noticeable all the time and in the stand we were in people were moving on and off all the time plus there were kids shooting hoops behind the stand as well.
Most of the Tigers fanfare on the road has been because Andrew Gaze is coaching the side, It is always odd seeing an idol up close but on this night my interest was mainly on his players, the future of the Melbourne Tigers.
Daryl Corletto was back, Ari Stewart and Rhys Carter were in good form and Bo has mastered the art of not fouling early which served the Tigers well and the rest of the Tigers line-up have plenty of ability.
The game itself was an arm wrestle as the sides traded points the whole game, we saw many impressive shots, the wackiness of Spartans shooting the ball and seeing it hit the rim only for the ball to land in the hands to the shooter who then scored on the second go.
We saw DC sinking a shot as he slipped over, Rhys with his 3’s and his frustrations (many of those justified over some calls), Bo trying to crash his way over a Spartan to score only to land awkwardly under the hoop, we saw Andrew pacing the sideline and Ari hitting some nice 3’s too plus much more.
Sadly we were overrun in the last few minutes and lost 80-79 but any disappointment in the outcome was washed away by getting to experience a Tigers game live instead of relying on YouTube streams and numbers on a online stat sheet.
After the game we moved through the Tigers players and staff as well as the Spartans fans who were celebrating their narrow victory and made our way outside in the near darkness (lack of lights) to go home and already plans were underway to see the two sides again in 2017.
Tigers fans, you’ve got to go see a SEABL game, preferably a Tigers game and don’t worry about SEABL not being the NBL because when you get into the game you’ll forget about that and find yourself really into the match.
Exciting things are happening for the Tigers and this second half of the season has the potential of seeing several Tigers wins on the board and so if you want a great day or night out at MSAC at just $10 each for adults then going to a SEABL game will fit the bill nicely.