Penrith’s Division 1 Youth League Men’s team are just one win away from back to back Grand Final appearances after taking care of business against Newcastle in last Saturday’s Elimination Final.
In front of a huge crowd at Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre, the Panthers easily disposed of their opposition 85-75 to advance to Friday morning’s semi-final against Central Coast.
Young gun Lachlan Charlton notched up 30 points in the victory.
If Penrith manage to overcome the Crusaders in Terrigal this Saturday, they’ll return to the same venue the following day to take on either the Hills Hornets or Sydney Comets for Grand Final glory.
Speaking with the Weekender, Panthers coach Steve Sardi said last weekend’s do-or-die match against Newcastle was one of the best performances of the season.
“We had supporters in the stands cheering us on and the atmosphere was really good on the weekend,” he said.
“While we again started the game sluggish, we managed to get back on track following a time-out. From there we never looked like losing to be honest,” Sardi said.
“The weapons they had were nullified by some of the stuff we were doing, and it was a fantastic effort from the boys.”
Saturday morning’s game against Central Coast will be a re-match of the 2018 Youth League Men’s Grand Final, where the ‘Beach Boys’ defeated the ‘Mountain Men’ 86-67.
The blockbuster clash will also mark the second time in a fortnight the two sides have done battle. In the final game of the regular season, Penrith shocked the entire league on the eve of the Finals with a 108-77 victory over Central Coast.
“Without a doubt… they are going to have their home crowd cheering and screaming, and it’ll be a Grand Final-like atmosphere,” he said.
“While they are out for revenge against us, we are out for revenge against them after they beat us in last year’s Grand Final.
“Central Coast are a solid team and our 31-point win over them a couple of weeks ago is not a true indication of what they’re capable of doing.”
Sardi is expecting to have his entire roster on deck for the spicy clash.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.