Winning Wildcats’ Formula for Success

Crowd at the first game of the finals Photo credit: Sarsha Tombides

Crowd at the first game of the finals Photo credit: Sarsha Tombides

Sarsha Tombides, ECU Editor

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The Perth Wildcats are back to back NBL champions, after defeating the Illawarra Hawks 95-86 on Sunday.

After a rocky start to the season, the Wildcats continued their winning streak playing in their 31st consecutive NBL series and holding eight championships.

With double the championships under their belt than any other team in the league, the Wildcats are always a hot favourite.

Following the axing of American import Jaron Johnson, as well as injury ridden players, many counted out the Wildcats as contenders this early this season.

“From where we came this year has been a journey from zigzags all over the place. The competition has been tough with the increased skill set that has come back to the NBL,” said Perth coach Trevor Gleeson.

While it’s easy to credit the Wildcat’s dramatic turn around to late American import, Bryce Cotton, and team captain, Damian Martin returning from injury, the Wildcats ongoing success needs to be credited to the clubs solid foundations.

This led to the not-so-secret formula of strong individual players in a stable environment, with coaching that brings them together as a powerhouse team.

With the threat of star point guard, Cotton, to leave after he received an offer to play in the NBA mid-season, the Wildcats continued to reign victorious. The team remained strong and united under the threat of the unknown.

Cotton chose to see out the season with the Wildcats, quickly becoming a key player in the victorious playoff series.

After he shot a staggering 45 points in the final game, with seven three-pointers, Cotton was awarded the MVP of the final series.

The veteran squad has the added advantage of nerves of steel, which come as they are repeat championship players and holders.

The belief within the group was never lost, with Gleenson describing the Wildcats as “ultimate professionals,” putting everything else aside and doing what was best for the team.

Never missing a game this season, Wildcats supporter, Aidan Crabb said he never doubted them.

“They are just so good at what they do and never lose sight, they seem to pull it together when it’s crunch time, and I definitely think the fans and the atmosphere help get them there, they are performers.”

The Wildcats’ following remained strong, buoyed by Perth’s crowds and the vocal Red Army.  The final game was played in front of 13, 611 fans.

For the club, this season’s title will remain one for the history books, with a clean sweep three-nil victory in the five game competition after they just scraped into the play off final series.




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Winning Wildcats’ Formula for Success