Leadership is a special quality, and in sport as it life it often comes down to be able to stand up and deliver when your team or colleagues most need you to do so.
We have witnessed many great players be able to deliver when it mattered most and show those qualities, Steve Waugh is one who springs to mind pulling centuries out when they were needed, David Beckham has managed it with crucial free kicks, but the Perth Wildcats Shawn Redhage’s block on the buzzer in Game Two of the Australian Basketball Grand Final would have to be up there with the best.
The Wildcats had lost the opening game of the best of three finals series in New Zealand and were back in Perth for Game 2. The New Zealand side lead for most of the match, and with just 53 seconds left took the lead under bizarre circumstances, when Gary Wilkinson tipped a defensive rebound into his own net. The Wildcats had the lead for just the fourth time in the match and now had to defend for their finals lives.
With the scores at 87-86 and five seconds remaining the star of game one CJ Bruton – who was started his career in Perth where his father, Cal, achieved legendary status with the Wildcats – had the chance to seal the game for the Breakers, but as he surged towards the net Shawn Redhage soared to tip his shot away.
“I don’t get upstairs too often, but it was a big play, but it will mean nothing if we don’t get up and win game three” Redhage said after the game, and sadly he is right. This however could be the play that tips the finals series in favour of the Wildcats. There is no doubt that this defensive effort will give the Wildcats belief that the game is there for the taking right up to the final buzzer.
While the Breakers will no doubt be wondering how it is that they are going to have to suit up for a third and final deciding game!