It has to be one of the biggest rivalries in New Zealand sport over the last four years. When it comes to the Saints and Sharks you just have to take a side, it's as simple as that. There is no such thing as sitting on the fence when these two Sal's NBL juggernauts clash.
While everything might seem calm and normal on the surface this week, just like a duck paddling overtime below the smooth waters you can be assured both the Wellington Saints and Southland Sharks are just a little manic, if not nervous, behind the scenes in the build-up to their ANZAC Day showdown on Thursday night (7:35pm) at TSB Arena in the nation's capital.
When these two teams lock horns once again on ANZAC Day the contest will feature no less than eight NZ Tall Blacks and three Aussie Boomers. It is a mouth-watering clash that could well be, based on recent history, be a preview to this year's Grand Final at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Sunday July 21.
The last four seasons have been quite amazing when you take a closer look at the fierce rivalry that exists between the Saints and Sharks. Clearly there is respect for one another, but just as equally there is an in-built desire to inflict a loss more so than upon any other team in the Sal's NBL.
In every sport you need rivalries, tribal warfare if you will, and when it comes to the Sal's NBL there is no greater love-to-hate relationship than that of the Saints and Sharks.
Let's take a look at their coupled history over the past four seasons.
5/8/18 - Sharks 98 defeated Saints 96 (Grand Final)
22/6/18 - Sharks 98 defeated Saints 86
27/4/18 - Sharks 113 defeated Saints 108
17/6/17 - Saints 108 defeated Sharks 75 (Grand Final)
19/5/17 - Saints 109 defeated Sharks 94
13/4/17 - Saints 111 defeated Sharks 93
24/3/17 - Saints 88 defeated Sharks 86
3/6/16 - Saints 79 defeated Sharks 75 (Semi-Final)
22/5/16 - Sharks 78 defeated Saints 75
25/4/16 - Saints 84 defeated Sharks 72
31/3/16 - Sharks 95 defeated Saints 87
5/7/15 - Sharks 72 defeated Saints 68 (Grand Final)
27/6/15 - Sharks 89 defeated Saints 81
1/6/15 - Sharks 108 defeated Saints 76
18/4/15 - Saints 94 defeated Sharks 92
For The Record (2015-2018)
Played - 15 times
Sharks - 8 wins / 7 losses / 2 Championships (2015 & 2018)
Saints - 7 wins / 8 losses / 2 Championships (2016 & 2017)
Points For In 15 Clashes - Saints 1,350 / Sharks 1,338
Points Against In 15 Clashes - Saints 1,338 / Sharks 1,350
Average Winning Margin - Saints 12pts / Sharks 8pts