Battle of the titans in Dunedin men’s final

Will it be a kind of Magic?

Or will the Saints come rolling back in and regain top spot?

The Dunedin men’s A grade final could be another classic encounter today.

Two superpowers — the Mid City Magic and the St Kilda Saints — who have combined to win every title bar one since 2005 will clash in the final.

The Magic has the overall form, having won the past four titles, and has a team full of Otago Nuggets.

Classy guards Richie Rodger and Josh Aitcheson have been the key men since returning to club hoops at the end of the NBL season.

Joe Ahie is also a smooth ball-handler and hit 19 three-pointers across the first two playoff games this year.

Fellow Nuggets squad member Mitch Hughan, a key contributor at both ends, is a fine shooter and often will guard the other team’s biggest threat.

The Magic has history on its side but has not always been operating at full tilt this season, though it is a different proposition with a full squad available, and wily coach Alf Arlidge will be eager to see his charges fire.

On the other side of the court, Dean Ruske will hope his Saints can rediscover their top form.

The Saints, who won three straight titles before the Magic’s run and have been in two of the past four finals, won the first 10 games (two full rounds) of this season.

They were then toppled unexpectedly by the Falcons, and lost to the Magic when the latter got its Nuggets back.

James Ross, assuming he is healthy, is key for the Saints with his all-round influence, creative ability and scoring power.

Michael Ruske is a young point guard who has stepped up this year, and is good in the mid-range with a handy IQ and good handle.

Nugget Jack Andrew gives the Saints a dynamic big who has been showing increasing shooting range with a bunch of threes.

Liam Aston, back from the UK, is a handy shooter in a good all-round Saints team that knows it is good enough.

The Saints beat the Magic 105-102 in overtime when they met in the 1v2 playoff game before lockdown.

That gave the Saints a direct route to the final, while the Magic beat the Falcons 96-93 in the qualifying final on the Tuesday before lockdown to set up the rematch.

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