Editorial February 14 2017

The Illawarra Hawks making their second straight National Basketball League finals series is nothing short of incredible.

Up against the might and the seemingly endless budgets of the big city teams, the Illawarra Hawks have again succeeded.

The same can be said for their finals counterparts Adelaide and Cairns, who would also be considered to be operating off far smaller bases than the likes of Sydney and Melbourne.

The only exception to that rule would be the other final combatant, the Perth Wildcats.

The Wildcats are an enormous organisation built up from decades of success and support from a large and parochial following known as the Red Army.

It just goes to prove it’s not always about how much money you spend in the sporting realm.

It’s about culture.

Illawarra Hawks coach Rob Beveridge and his coaching support staff set that standard and it filters through the team and the club.

It has been backed completely by the club’s proud corporate partners, of which the Illawarra Mercury is one, and embraced by the community.

After making last year’s finals series and only narrowly losing to eventual champion Perth, this again is an awesome opportunity for the Illawarra Hawks.

The Hawks start their semi final campaign against the top-of-the-ladder Adelaide 36ers in Adelaide on Thursday night.

Then they return to the WIN Entertainment Centre for game two on Sunday.

Without a doubt the #Hawkheads will ensure the WEC is an absolute cauldron and the 36ers don’t have fond memories of their most recent trip to the Gong.

The “Illawarra” chant has been ringing around the WEC like a Viking war cry.

On Saturday night the entire crowd shouted it loud and clear. It was a spine-tingling moment.

Make sure you get along and witness it in person and make sure you get in quick.

Fans were already lined up at the ticket box on Monday morning to try and secure their seat.

In all likelihood the game will be a sellout and Beveridge’s call to “ditch the curtain” to fill the remaining seats at the southern end of the stadium will finalky ring true.

Congratulations to the Hawks.

The Illawarra region is right there with you in support.