Hoop dreams 

Basketball

"WE just want to get our title back."

The Griffith Demons are not messing around ahead of tomorrow night's MIA League grand final against Leeton at West End Stadium.

Captain-coach Steve McCanna has declared his full-strength side will be out to recapture the glory - and local bragging rights - that has eluded Griffith for years.

The Demons have not won the MIA League since the competition was resurrected from the old Sunrice Cup days, and a win on Saturday night will make the hosts the first team ever to go through an entire campaign undefeated.

There would no better way to do that than to overcome the Eagles, who beat Narrandera 45-35 last weekend to qualify for the grand final, McCanna believes.

"It's a good, healthy rivalry," he said.

"We get stuck into each other and it's always a nice, physical game.

"I expected Leeton to win and deep down I did want to play them because I knew they were the better side and we've had a rivalry over the years.

"We both look forward to it. We have a chat before the game, we get into it and then afterwards we shake hands and it's all good."

Adding further spark to the contest will be the showdown against former State League Demons Corey Ryan and Adam O'Callaghan, who now play for Leeton.

O'Callaghan's frustrations boiled over the last time he was at West End Stadium, almost coming to blows with Griffith's Jon Evans before he was fouled out.

Along with the Marks twins, Ben and Luke, they loom as the Eagles' key players, but McCanna is backing the Demons' big guns to get the job done.

Only Stuart Lolotonga will miss tomorrow night's grand final with Griffith's ex-State Leaguers McCanna, Todd Howard and Dean Spratt all set to start alongside Evans and centre Graham Kilby.

"When we won our two road games, that's when we said if we can protect home court we can do it undefeated," McCanna said.

"That was definitely an aim of ours and hopefully we can come through with it.

"It was a quality game against Leeton last time and we're really keen to take them on again.

"We've never really fielded a full side for the final - I've only ever played in one grand final because we've always had something on at that time.

"They've always got the win there for that reason, but hopefully this time it's different."

The Demons girls will also take to the court tomorrow night after qualifying for the grand final, courtesy of Narrandera's 50-29 win over Leeton last week.

After a slow start to the MIA League, Griffith is peaking at the right time with senior players Kylie Pastro, Angela Ellis and Jess Hill leading the way.

"The senior players they have back, it really adds a bit of calmness to the group and a bit of experience," McCanna said.

"The juniors, they didn't have any direction before without them.

"Now they've got a pretty good rotation there. It should be a good game for them too and they're a chance as well."

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