Fresh off a winning the inaugural Coles Express NBL1 East title, the Canberra Gunners will be riding the high all the way down to Melbourne as they get set to compete in the National Championships this weekend.

The side from the capital have a difficult first matchup, taking on the Frankston Blues on Friday night. The Blues were knocked out in the NBL1 South semi-finals but qualified for the National Championships through the Wildcard spot, after an impressive victory over the Centre of Excellence.

Led by scoring machine Lachlan Barker the Blues will be out to prove they belong, as the only side competing not to have won their conference. Barker’s hot shooting from outside (3.75 three-pointers per game) is well complemented by the Frankston big men, Dillon Stith, Daniel Trist and Adrio Bailey. The Blues had 6 players average double figure points in the NBL1 South this season and their depth is going to be tough to overcome.

Don’t worry though Gunners fans, Canberra have plenty of weapons of their own. Glenn Morison spun his way to the Grand Final MVP after averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds for the season. Highlight machines Will Mayfield and Dhal Fieg are electric at both ends of the floor, and the Gunners have their own flamethrower from deep in James Toohey, who knocked down 64 triples in just 20 games. With some steady veterans surrounding this core, Canberra can beat anyone when they play at their best.

The Gunners play again on Saturday, with their opponents to be decided based on the previous day’s results. A pair of victories could see them through to the National Championship game on Sunday, with a chance to be crowned the top NBL1 team in Australia.

With the best teams across the country participating, the competition will be at a level above anything Canberra has played in before. They aren’t the favourites coming into the weekend, but this Gunners side has the potential to shock the tournament if they can find the form that won them the Coles Express NBL1 East Championship.

Tune in Friday night to catch the Canberra Gunners in action as they look to keep their incredible 2022 NBL1 season rolling with a victory over the Frankston. You can watch the game on Kayo Freebies, with tipoff scheduled for 8:30pm.