The time has finally arrived! Season 2017 is finally here and boy are we ready to go. Eight cracking fixtures set the scene for the opening week of Round 1, with the 16 teams once again all under the one roof. Dandenong Basketball Stadium play host to the Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men for the third year running, however before we get into the nitty gritty, we must welcome the newest member of our division. The Altona Gators were champions of Youth League One Men in 2016 and deservedly earn the right to play in the league’s top flight youth competition for this year.
While there’s a lot of unknown, as always, heading into Round 1, the way the opening rounds fixture pans out, there’s so much opportunity to have early questions answered! Let’s get cracking!
Waverley and Hawthorn kick off the year with both teams looking at building on what they achieved last season. With both sides expected to debut a lot of youth this season, there could be many fresh faces to the league in the opening game. Diamond Valley and Sandringham both leapt into the finals last season and you’d be expecting them to be around the same when it’s all said and done this year. The Sabres lost a couple of handy ones over the off-season, but retention was key with Matt Burke, James Cigognini and Finn Kenny all back again.
Altona debut against McKinnon and it looks as though they’ve been given a kind fixture as the Cougs were bottom of the pile last season. While they’re record certainly didn’t reflect the season they had, it’s an opportunity for both teams to record an early victory. Sherbrooke look like they’ve been dealt the toughest match of the round when they face off against Blackburn to round out Saturday, the Vikes looming as a championship contender so early on.
Sunday is jam packed with Kilsyth and Ringwood arguably the closest encounter of the weekend. Nunawading and Dandenong won’t be far behind though as both of these powerhouses want to start the season on a bright note. Finally Eltham tackle the defending champs Melbourne, who also loom as early favourites and a big chance to go back-to-back. We’ll find out where each team stands early on in a big round all under the one roof!
Waverley vs. Hawthorn Sat 12pm Dandenong Court 1
Diamond Valley vs. Sandringham Sat 2pm Dandenong V’Ball Court 1
Altona vs. McKinnon Sat 4pm Dandenong Court 1
Sherbrooke vs. Blackburn Sat 4pm Dandenong V’Ball Court 1
Kilsyth vs. Ringwood Sun 10am Dandenong V’Ball Court 1
Nunawading vs. Dandenong Sun 12pm Dandenong Court 1
Bulleen vs. Knox Sun 2pm Dandenong V’Ball Court 1
Eltham vs. Melbourne Sun 4pm Dandenong Court 1
It’s been a long preseason but finally, WE’RE BACK! This weekend will see the best under-23 female players in the state go head-to-head in the one place. Round one dishes up some exciting matchups, but the biggest of them all is the grand final rematch from last year. Bulleen and reigning premiers Melbourne go to war on Sunday morning, with sparks sure to fly. The Boomers will have added motivation in this one after having their hearts broken last season. The Tigers on the other hand will be looking to kick-start their title defense with a win; this has the makings of an absolute corker.
Last year’s finalists Nunawading will go up against Hawthorn on Saturday. The Spectres lost in the finals to eventual champions Melbourne, and will no doubt like their chances heading into this one. Rumour is there has been some roster changes at the graveyard, whether they can come together for the first game of the year will be an interesting sub-plot in this one. The Magic just missed out on finals basketball last year, a good start will be crucial to rectifying that this season.
Sandringham has the tough job of going up against the only home team for round one, Dandenong. The Rangers will be feeling the pressure of protecting their home court, in a week were no one else has that luxury. The Sabres will need to take advantage of that pressure and get away to a good start in the game if they are a chance to win.
‘Newbies’ Altona will have their first VYCW action of the year against the Cobras. Despite a strong finish to last season, Kilsyth still missed out on a finals spot. Meanwhile the Gators will come out looking to prove themselves as a genuine contender in their new division.
Ringwood had a regular season to remember, however not making the grand final would have been a huge disappointment. In this one they go up against Knox. The word is there have been some changes in personnel for the Hawks, whether this will affect their early season results is yet to be known. The Raiders will be looking to take a big scalp early and get on the winners list.
Eltham and Waverley face off on Sunday in what should be an interesting game. Both finished towards the bottom of the Watson conference last year, with the Falcons recording the second worst record in the entire league (3-19).
The “country clash” in Dandenong! Ballarat and Bendigo will lock horns on the weekend in what will be a fiery affair. Bendigo had some playoff experience last year and will want to continue that in 2017. While their opposition missed out, and will surely look to get one over their rivals in this one.
The final game of the round sees Hume City fight it out against Diamond Valley. The Eagles will likely head in favourites, however the Broncos will be looking for a win to try and improve on what was a disappointing season in 2016.
Nunawading vs. Hawthorn Sat 10am Dandenong Volleyball CRT 1
Sandringham vs. Dandenong Sat 10am Dandenong CRT 1
Altona vs. Kilsyth Sat 12pm Dandenong Volleyball CRT 1
Knox vs. Ringwood Sat 2pm Dandenong CRT 1
Hume City vs. Diamond Valley Sun 10am Dandenong Volleyball CRT 1
Eltham vs. Waverley Sun 12pm Dandenong Volleyball CRT 1
Ballarat vs. Bendigo Sun 2pm Dandenong CRT 1
Bulleen vs. Melbourne Sun 4pm Dandenong CRT 1