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Green: Sharks bigs vs Rangers speed

Super City Rangers coach Jeff Green says the semifinal showdown with the Southland Sharks will be like a game of chess.

The Sharks and Rangers will clash in Tauranga on Friday night in what is looming as a battle of Southland's big men against the Rangers quick style game.

Green believes it will come down to which team is able to nullify the opposites strength.

"At the end of the day Southland is one of the biggest teams in terms of Nick Kay and [Alex] Pledger, they are huge.

"If they establish themselves early it is a long night for any team who play them. We have to push them out as far as from the basket as possible.

"If we can make life difficult for them at the offensive end we've got a shot.

"The thing for us is, everyone knows if we keep it nice and quick and we move their big boys around and take advantage of our quickness, we have the advantage.

"It's a game of chess and strategy."

Green is shooting for his fifth National Basketball League title this weekend with the veteran coach keen to equal the five NBL titles Tab Baldwin has as a coach.

He said his coaching desire is fixed on winning two more titles and passing Baldwin's record.

"It's the only reason I'm coaching is because of my ego. I can't go to my grave knowing Tab Baldwin has more than me."

Before the Sharks and Rangers meet at 7pm in Tauranga the Wellington Saints and Canterbury Rams will go at it in the first semifinal at 5pm.

Many have already penciled the Wellington Saints in as 2017 title winners after their impressive 18-0 record through the round-robin stage of the competition.

Green, however, gives all four teams an equal chance of claiming the title given the cut-throat nature of the playoff format.

"Eighteen and zero means nothing, it means jack squat what right now. [Wellington] starts 0-0 just like we do, just like Southland does, just like Canterbury.

"In the end of the day, it is just one game to get to the final and one game to win it. Anyone can win one game on the night."

Following Friday night's semifinals the two winners will have little time to recover and prepare for the final, with the decider being played at 5pm on Saturday in Tauranga.

To add a bit of a Southland flavour to the NBL finals, NBL officials have summoned Sharks MC Kane Johnson and DJ Matt Murray to provide the entertainment over the two days.

With Tauranga not having a team in the league, there will be plenty of interest as to what sort of crowd support they get over the weekend.

AT A GLANCE (NBL Semifinals, Friday)

Wellington Saints (1) v Canterbury Rams (4), 5pm

Southland Sharks (2) v Super City Rangers (3), 7pm

Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times /

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