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The Spinning Bullets journey through to 2019 NWBL finals

With 1 round to play in the National Wheelchair Basketball League, the top three teams for finals were set, Wollongong, Perth and Kilsyth. The first two teams involved in the final round were in fact battling for the fourth and last finals position.  The Qld Spinning Bullets traveled to Sydney to face the Blues and entered the final round with a record of 7-9, the Blue a record of 6-10.  The Spinning Bullets needing just one victory to secure their place in the finals.  They won both games, with the second requiring a come from behind victory being 16 points down at the half.

Entering the finals weekend held at the Clem Jones Complex Brisbane the Qld Spinning Bullets would face the Kilsyth Cobras in the 3rd v 4th knockout semi final.  The victor earning a spot in the preliminary final and chance to play in the Championship game, the loser relegated directly to the Bronze medal game.  Kilysth being the only team the Spinning Bullets did not own a win over, with Kilsyth taking all three victories in round 2 albeit by the smallest of margins 1 point and 3 points.

The semi final was a back and forth affair.  Locked at 34 all at half time it set the scene for another close game between the two competitive sides.  the second half proved no different with the Spinning Bullets behind by three points with mere seconds to play.  Tom O’Neil-Thorne hitting a massive 3 point shot as the clock expired to send the game to overtime.  Overtime again proved no different with the teams trading baskets, and the Spinning Bullets again found themselves down by a single point with under 10 seconds to play.  O’Neil-Thorne missed the go ahead bucket but secured the offensive rebound, passing the ball to Matt McShane and sebsequantly found the hot hand of Jordan Bartley who nailed a deep 3 pointer as the clock expired giving the Spinning Bullets a 2 point victory.  The team would progress to the preliminary final.

The Spinning Bullets’ opponent in the preliminary final would be the Perth Wheelcats (14-4), who were defeated in their semifinal by the league leading and defending champion Wollonong Rollerhawks (17-1).  Perth’s regular season record against the Spinning Bullets was 2-1.  Boasting a lineup of some of Australia’s best players and developing players the Wheelcats were hungry for a spot in the Championship game.  The Wheelcats had not featured in finals for two years.

The Spinning Bullets are known for their ‘in your face’ defensive style of play and that was well and truly on display in this game defeating the Wheelcats 78-69.  The Spinning Bullets caused 23 turnovers and grabbed 11 steals whilst only turning the ball over 7 times.

The Spinning Bullets would face the Wollongong Rollerhawks in the Championship game for the second time in two years.  The Rollerhawks were chasing a unprecedented third championship in three years, and with a starting lineup all boasting international experience they were well placed to do so.  The Rollerhawks finished the regular season with 17 wins and 1 loss……but that loss was to the Spinning Bullets.

The Championship game was what the crowd expected.  A high paced, physical display of the countries best wheelchair basketball talent.  Half time and the scores were locked at 37 all.  Unfortunately this is as close as the Spinning Bullets would get to lifting the Championship trophy, as the Rollerhawks went on the claim the victory 71-62 in one of the closest, competitive finals in years.

Queensland’s smothering defence forced the Rollerhawks into deep shots with an expiring shot clock…….which they managed to hit four times throughout the second half.  Queensland were not able to answer back and that was the difference in the game.

Make no mistake however, the Queensland Spinning Bullets are a team on the rise.  With an average age of 24 years this team has the potential to play together for another decade…….the Championship is coming.

QSB 2019 Top Performers

Tom O’Neil-Thorne – 17.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 6 apg

Kurt Thomson – 10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.6 apg

Matt McShane – 8.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.6 apg

Jordan Bartley – 8.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.2 apg

2019 Hand Heart Pocket River 2 Reef Charity Ride

Wonderful event; fabulous weather; tremendous fun.

The 2019 River 2 Reef Ride had a chilly start but the day transformed into glorious blue skies, light breezes and a very comfortable max temperature of 25 degrees.

The front riders of the 1,000 strong entry list set a cracking pace from the start. As always, a good percentage of people, particularly family groups called into the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association rest stop in Dumbleton and made a bit of a social event of it. It was a scene of early morning enjoyment and laughter, backed up by good Aussie rock on the PA.

An outstanding rider on the day was Paralympian Beau Menzies. Beau and Association CEO John Swete Kelly settled in to the 135km ride and found they were wheeling along with a group of 9 ladies from the Activ8 team – a very
capable group of triathletes. John reported that on the hills, Beau was constantly giving the less experienced ladies a helping hand up the hills. A champion effort given Beau had just completed three 12 hour days of sign set up prior to the event.

Sporting Wheelies also had many volunteers helping out on the day. Volunteers stood on many corners directing riders, were at the Dumbleton rest stop and were driving the bus and medic car. Andrew Malayta was the event medic and Mal Porter and Jan Tynan also joined Beau in erecting the 450 signs. This fantastic event is not possible without these selfless, caring volunteers, so a big thank you to all who donated their time to assist.

The number NINE River2Reef Ride was a beauty – bring on number TEN !!!

Mingling over morning tea in the Ville

On 17 August, our Sporting Wheelies Townsville team hosted a morning tea to over twenty (20) of our Association’s longterm lottery supporters. Throughout the morning, our members interacted and  played games with our guests  showcasing Boccia and Goalball and guest athlete Richard Cordukes (Paralympian Gold Medalists) shared his story about his injury and involvement with sports and our Association. We also had some of our members and volunteers briefly speak about their sporting achievements in Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair NRL and Waterskiing. One attendee said, “it was so good to hear people’s stories and get a better understanding of your sports. I will be putting this in my calendar each year”. Overall it was such a lovely day with many compliments and thank yous at the end.

Sailing opportunities in Townsville

It was a perfect sailing day with moderate winds and little to no swell on 16 August. The calm blue waters of the Ross River presented the perfect backdrop for a come & try in August with the experienced crew from Sailability Townsville. Kelly Owen, one of our local Wheelchair Basketballers,  has a significant fear of water, but with the calm assurance of her boat Captain, David Bretherton, she sailed out into the wide blue yonder. On her return, the smile on her face told the story that facing your fears with courage brings reward beyond belief.

Sporting Challenge 2019 has been run and won

On Friday 13th September we saw nine (9) teams from various organisations come together to battle it out in our annual Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association (SWDA) Sporting Challenge, at the Clem Jones Sports Centre in Carina. The teams were introduced to three out of five of the associations core sports; Boccia, Goalball and Wheelchair Basketball and the action on the court was both competitive and entertaining.

The 2019 Sporting Challenge had a a lot of new teams and faces who were eager to be introduced to three Paralympic Sports and by the sounds circulating around the centre, all the participants enjoyed their day on the court. The annual challenge allows Sporting Wheelies to educate through experience and by momentarily putting the participants in the shoes of those in the community with a disability.

Congratulations to Spartans who were our overall champions for the day, taking home the championship trophy, and a big shout out also goes to the individual top scorers in each sport.
– Boccia, Steve Stojanoski – Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women
– Goalball, Davide Zulli – Queensland Rail
– Wheelchair Basketball, Stephen Negrello – Queensland Rail

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Sporting Wheelies Officials and Volunteers. Without your support and assistance, we would not be able to run events like the Sporting Challenge which give back to those who provide so much support to the Association. Your commitment to SWDA is valued and celebrated.
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