Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles Women’s Head Coach Matt Newby has had a tremendous effect on both his team and The Club since arriving in November.

So much so that he has taken a side from the lower reaches of the Women’s British Basketball League and transformed them into a team looking forward to playing in the Playoff Final at The O2 Arena London this coming Sunday.

That destination being achieved after a stunning 60 points to 58 victory over Caledonia Gladiators in Scotland last Sunday. Newby reflected on that achievement and what’s to come in the post-game glow of celebration.

“Genuinely so happy. Not just for myself but for the organisation on taking a chance on me. For the girls in investing in what we proposed and what we’ve tried to do from November and there’s a clear vindication of that from what we did tonight (Sunday).”

“The Gladiators are an incredible team, well-coached, fantastic organisation and trending in the right direction in every way but tonight it was about us and we came out on top.”

“Our preparation was exceptional. I’ve got a lot of thanks for Coach Orwin for clipping the Gladiators playing style so we could sit down and find solutions. We had everything in their playbook up to date and the individual scout was perfect.”

“We made some very talented players make tough decisions and big shots and that’s a sign of a team that’s been well prepared. Defence won us that game 100%.”

“They have been in the high 80s, 90s all season and to be honest we probably had a chance to put a bigger score on the board ourselves with the possessions we generated. They are difficult line-up to attack but we managed to find a way to do it.”

American forwards Tierra Hodges and Jada Dapaa were exceptional on the night and led Newcastle brilliantly but as a good coach always does Newby saw the whole team performance.

“They bring a different level of energy to practice and game time and the other girls have tried to match that and marry it. Abby Lowe deserves a massive shout-out. She’s the best defender in the league in my opinion as a wing.”

“In the last run of games, she’s been the best individual defender on the court. We can highlight the way Jada and Tierra played but fundamentally it was a team effort. Zoe Willis came in and gave a real shift just doing the right things at the right time.”

“Chloe Gaynor icing the game. She’s probably never been under that pressure ever but she closed out the game. Marina Fernandez who struggled offensively today was outstanding defensively as well.”

“There’s a lot of people who deserve a shout-out, Lauren Saiki as well, but collectively and together we delivered the result.

A result that means they now have a crack at the best team in the League on the biggest stage of all in the most prestigious individual game of the season.

“If the critics/pundits had looked at us in November I don’t think we’d have been within a shout of making the playoffs. There were a lot of changes that needed to be made to point us in the right direction.”

“It’s been down to the girls embracing that journey and we get a free role of the dice against the best team in the country and one of the best in Europe. Our emotions will be heightened but the reality is the pressure is on London.”

“They are looking to complete a perfect season. The pressures on us will be eternally to make that the best game that it can be.”

Newby’s and his team face, as he says, the London Lions who have not lost a game all season and are red-hot favourites to take the Playoff Champions title. But history has shown that underdogs can often prevail in a one-off game. Will it be this time?

The Women’s Playoff Final will be live on Sky Sports Mix and YouTube channel this Sunday with all the build-up from 1pm.