Welcome to our new series of Big V Player Profiles! To kick things off we’re featuring Southern VYCW star, Chelsea Bransden.
It’s a love affair that began at just six years of age.
Growing up, Chelsea Bransden’s big sister played basketball, and she remembers being dragged to watch her play every weekend.
“From about four years old I was begging my mum to let me play, and then, when I turned five or six, she put me into under 8s,” Bransden recalled. “I fell in love with the game and have played ever since.”
Fast forward 15 years and that love affair is still going strong. The key to the longevity of the relationship? Despite the cliché, Bransden says it’s just going out there and having fun.
Bransden began her basketball journey in the Knox domestic program, playing for the Wantirna Wasps. When she started to play rep it was naturally for the Knox Raiders, but since then Bransden says she’s ‘been to a few places’.
The 2019 season sees 21-year-old Bransden join the line-up at the Southern Sabres, as their Victorian Youth Championship Women’s (VYCW) team looks to go for a three-peat, after winning the past two VYCW Championships.
“I played at McKinnon for three years and I just didn’t feel I was getting anywhere in the team,” Bransden explained, “…there was no spot for me in the Senior Women’s Team…[and] they play in Div[ision] 1 for Youth League so I thought I may as well try and get into a team in Vic Youth Champ.
“Sandringham [now known as Southern] had their tryouts coming up so I went over there…and after two or three weeks Jo[anne Wood – the Sabres’ VYCW Head Coach] said she’d love to have me in the team and ever since then it’s been great.”
Coming into an already established and successful side, Bransden said she was a bit worried about how she’d fit in, but that the culture at the club had been fantastic.
“I was a bit worried coming in because they’ve [the Sabres] won two years in a row and I…didn’t want to stand on anyone’s toes, but a few of the girls [have] moved up to Seniors since lasts year, so win or lose we always try to stick together and try and do everything as a team as much as we can.
“Everyone wants it [to win the Championship again this year], so it’s just a matter of getting it done…I think we can, I don’t see why we can’t.”
Despite her unrelenting drive for success on-court, Bransden’s focus is on more than just basketball.
“I work full time and then I just play basketball…I do it for fun.”
“I’m work as a nanny,” she continued. “I used to work in childcare, and I’ve moved away from that and now I’ve been working as a nanny for about a year and I love it.”
When it comes to the future, Bransden is low-key about her individual prospects in the game, looking only into the near future with a team-first mentality.
“I’d love to win Vic Youth Champ this year,” Bransden said. “I’d love to make it to the Grand Final and win, so I think that for this season is probably my biggest goal.”
“Of course, I’d love to go as far as I can in basketball but I’m not putting any pressure on myself, I’m just going to turn up each week and try my hardest and see where it takes me.”