Hawks buoyed by prospect of staunch home support

BASKETBALL

Win or lose, the Wollongong Hawks want to share the love with their fans in Sunday's semi-final duel with Perth at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Just about everyone thought Wollongong's campaign was dead and buried after the first 19 games yielded just six wins.

But the Hawks dragged themselves off the canvas, winning seven of their final nine games to finish alone in fourth spot with a 13-15 record.

That they only clinched a play-offs berth in last week's final-round clash with Sydney summed up how late the Hawks left it.

After taking on the Wildcats in game one of the best-of-three semi-final series on Friday night in Perth, the Hawks are looking forward to being back on their home court for game two.

"This is a reward for our fans just as much as it is for ourselves," captain Oscar Forman said.

"It's a time to be happy and celebrate what we've done, but it's also a time to go to work and stay focused on what we're trying to achieve. It's about moving forward and getting to that next level - the grand final series."

Wollongong finished third last season and were knocked out by Perth in two games in the semi-final series. The Hawks played in front of 13,000 Cats fans in game one on Friday and are hoping to see at least 5000 Hawks supporters in the stands on Sunday.

"We're excited to be in the finals and, to have that opportunity to play a semi-final in front of our home crowd, it's going to special," Dave Gruber said.

"We had a few smaller crowds earlier in the season, but the fans have really come out and supported us the last few weeks. That atmosphere at the WEC has been truly electric. We feed off that as players and it's an exciting prospect to be coming home to on Sunday."

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