Round 1 Previews

It’s that time of the year. The leaves are falling and the basketball is dropping. Autumn has arrived and the Big V season has too

Championship Men
Championship Women
Division One Men
Division One Women
Division Two Men
Division Two Women
Victorian Youth Championship Men
Victorian Youth Championship Women
Youth League One Men
Youth League One Women
Youth League Two Men
Youth League Two Women

Championship Men

The 2019 season is finally upon us, as nine teams look set to battle it out for the State Championship Men’s title.

The league looks set to open up this season, with last year’s two grand finalists Ringwood and Eltham joined by finals bound Waverley and seventh placed Knox in the new NBL1 competition. Chelsea Gulls have been promoted from Division One to make it a nine-team league, as it looks to be anyone’s game this season.

McKinnon and Keilor kick us off on Saturday night, as they’re one of four games to take place in the 8pm timeslot. The Cougars will be out to go one step further this season, after falling at the penultimate hurdle in 2018. McKinnon were swept 2-0 by the eventual champions in Ringwood, after winning through to the semi-finals following an upset away win over third-placed Waverley. While the Cougars will be out to build on their finals position, the Thunder will be hoping to get themselves into the post-season this year, after a less than impressive 2018. Keilor finished in ninth with an 8-14 record, and found themselves five wins back from sixth. The Thunder also face Werribee on Sunday, in what looms as a big weekend for the Thunder to get their season off to a strong start.

2018 cellar-dwellers Corio Bay will look to put last year’s misery in the rearview mirror when they play host to Hume City at the Geelong Basketball & Netball Centre. The Stingrays could only muster two wins last year, stumbling to the end of the season on a seven-loss streak. Meanwhile, the Broncos have a great opportunity to start the year on the right note, as they look to escape mid-table obscurity and put together a winning record after their 10-12 2018.

Blackburn open their 2019 campaign by hosting Casey at Mullum Mullum Stadium on Saturday night. After a disappointing 2018 that saw them keeping Corio Bay company at the foot of the table with five wins, the Vikings will have their work cut out for them in their season opener. The Cavaliers will be desperate to start their 2019 with a win after falling at the first hurdle of last year’s finals series. Casey were good enough to finish fifth and face Hawthorn in an elimination final, although the Magic were too strong at home, and ended the Cavaliers’ hopes at a title.

Chelsea move up to the State Championship after dominating Division One in 2018. Defeating Shepparton 2-0 in the Grand Final series, the Gulls claimed the title after finishing the regular season with an emphatic 21-3 record. The promoted club will be keen to prove they belong in the top flight when they take on 2018 Semi-Finallists Hawthorn Magic in round one. The Magic will look to get their 2019 campaign off to a positive start after being bundled from last years finals series 2-1 by Eltham. The two sides converge on Patterson River Stadium at 8pm on Saturday night. 

Keilor face the season’s first back-to-back as they front up again and host Werribee on Sunday. Last time the two sides met in the final round of 2018, the Devils came away victors in a defensive battle, defeating the Thunder 61-50 at home. 

McKinnon vs Keilor                                                     Sat 8pm                       GESAC

Corio Bay vs Hume City                                              Sat 8pm                       Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Blackburn vs Casey                                                     Sat 8pm                       Mullum Mullum Stadium

Chelsea vs Hawthorn                                                  Sat 8pm                       Patterson River Stadium

Keilor vs Werribee                                                      Sun 3.30pm                 Keilor Basketball Stadium

Championship Women

Southern Peninsula play host to Werribee in the 2019 Championship Women’s season opener. The Sharks will be keen to get their 2019 off to a positive start after falling at the final hurdle in 2018, swept 2-0 by Sunbury in the Grand Final series. Meanwhile, Werribee will have their work cut out for them after promotion to the top flight. The Devils were far from dominant in Division One in 2018, scraping into the finals in sixth with a 13-9 record where they were bundled out in the first round by Warrnambool. 

Bulleen will take on Keilor at East Doncaster Secondary College on Saturday afternoon. Both sides struggled in 2018, with Keilor (6-12 record) finishing 7th and Bulleen (3-15) narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon. With a fresh start in 2019, both clubs will be itching to begin their season on a positive note.

Whittlesea and McKinnon meet at Mill Park Basketball Stadium at 6.30pm on Saturday, with the promoted Pacers looking to prove they belong in the State Championship. The newcomers will fancy their chances against a Cougars outfit that only managed four wins last year, and limped to the end of the season on a four-game losing streak.

2018 champions Sunbury take on Hume to begin their title defence. Seperated by only one place on the ladder after last year’s regular season, the Broncos (fourth) were bundled out in the first round of finals by Southern Peninsula, while the Jets (third) accounted for Waverley and Knox en-route to a 2-0 Grand Final sweep of the Sharks. Both clubs will be desperate to begin 2019 in winning fashion.

Casey host Warrnambool at Casey Stadium in a Divison One Grand Final rematch to wrap up the first round of Championship Women’s fixtures. After finishing top of the table with an 18-4 record and advancing through the finals to the decider, the Cavaliers couldn’t finish the job, conceding the three-game series 1-2 to the Mermaids. Warrnambool pulled off the stunning upset after losing their only home game of the series to go down 1-0. However, the club pulled together and stole the next two games in Casey to claim the crown. Both teams will be keen to set up their season and claim their first State Championship win at the expense of the other.  

Southern Peninsula vs Werribee                                Sat 5.30pm                  Hillview Stadium

Bulleen vs Keilor                                                         Sat 6pm                       East Doncaster Secondary College

Whittlesea vs McKinnon                                             Sat 6.30pm                  Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Sunbury vs Hume City                                                Sat 8pm                       Boardman Stadium

Casey vs Warrnambool                                               Sat 8pm                       Casey Stadium

Division One Men

Bellarine and Western Port will open the 2019 Division One Men’s season when they meet at Bellarine Sports Centre at 7.30pm on Saturday. The newly formed Storm will have their work cut out for them in their first Division One outing as they face one of the powerhouses of 2018 in Western Port. The Steelers enjoyed a successful 2018 campaign, finishing fourth and advancing to the semi-finals where they were defeated by eventual premiers Chelsea. The league will be watching with intrigue as to how the newcomers fare.

The second game of the round sees Bulleen hosting Collingwood at East Doncaster Secondary College. Both clubs had a mixed bag of results in 2018 and found themselves in the bottom half fo the table. Despite strong form at home throughout the season (7-5 home record), the All Stars only managed two away wins all season to finish in tenth with a 9-15 record. Meanwhile the Boomers split their home games 6-6 with a 5-7 record away from home. Collingwood will look to do away with last season’s away form and get their season off to a winning start.

Two top sides of 2018 will face off when the Warrnambool Seahawks make the trek to Rowville Secondary College to take on the Keysborough Cougars. Both sides will have been disappointed with their finals series’, after being bundled out immediately. Warrnambool, after finishing fifth, never fired a shot in their first-round matchup with the Steelers as they lost by 26 points. Meanwhile, after finishing second with an impressive 17-7 record, the Cougars earnt automatic qualification to the semi-finals, where they were swept 2-0 by Shepparton.

Finalists Warrandyte Venom kick off their season against cellar-dwellers Latrobe City Energy. The Venom snuck into the 2018 finals campaign with a 14-10 record, establishing a home court fortress as they put together a 9-3 home record. Conversely, the Energy were rooted to the bottom of the Division One table with just two wins after failing to win a single road game. It would come as a shock to the entire league if the Venom don’t start 2019 with a win on Saturday. 

Newly-promoted Coburg open their 2019 campaign by hosting the Melbourne University Black Angels. Sweeping the Mildura Heat 2-0 to take out the Division Two Men 2018 title, the Giants will get their first taste of Division One basketball when they take on a Melbourne Uni outfit that found themselves mid-table in 2018 after splitting the regular season 12-12.

Whittlesea face a tough assignment to reverse last year’s poor results as they take on Shepparton in round one. The Pacers finished last season in 12th, ahead of only the dreadful Energy, and ended the year on a four-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Gators shrugged off a three-game losing streak of their own to end the regular season to advance to thew Grand Final where they eventually succumbed to the Chelsea Gulls. 

The Boomers will have to prepare for a back-to-back, as they travel to face Sunbury on Sunday. The Jets will be out to prove that they can play a better brand of basketball than they did in 2018, when they limped to 6-18. 

Bellarine vs Western Port                                           Sat 7.30pm                  Bellarine Sports Centre

Bulleen vs Collingwood                                              Sat 8pm                       East Doncaster Secondary College

Keysborough vs Warrnambool                                   Sat 8pm                       Rowville Secondary College

Warrandyte vs Latrobe City                                        Sat 8pm                       Warrandyte Sports Complex

Coburg vs Melbourne University                                Sat 8.30pm                  Coburg Basketball Stadium

Whittlesea vs Shepparton                                          Sat 8.30pm                  Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Sunbury vs Bulleen                                                     Sun 2pm                      Boardman Stadium

Division One Women

Newcomers Bellarine Storm begin their Division One lives with a home tie with 2018 wooden spooners the Western Port Steelers. The Storm will fancy themselves to pick up a debut win against a Steelers side that could only muster two wins in 2018, rooting them to the foot of the D1 table. The Steelers will be desperate, however, to reverse last year’s fortunes against the new kids on the block. This matchup will have massive implications in setting up both clubs’ seasons.

Ninth and tenth respectively in 2018, Chelsea play host to Latrobe City in round one. The Gulls and Energy both found themselves in the bottom four last year, with the rest of the competition clearly a cut above. However, both sides will be buoyed by a fresh start and the ability to prove that last year was not reflective of their collective potential. Both will be desperate to secure a win to start 2019 off on the right foot.

Mildura will be anxious to kick start the 2019 regular season after being unceremoniously dumped from last years semi-finals, swept 2-0 by Warrnambool. The Heat will face stiff opposition in the Hawthorn Magic though, who will be looking to go one better on their seventh place finish in 2018, narrowly missing finals. The Magic were stuck in mid-table after an 11-11 regular season record. However, if last season is anything to go by, the Heat should be able to take care of business at home, as they turned the Toyota Hothouse into a fortress in 2018 with a 9-2 home record.

The Craigieburn Eagles join Division One after taking care of business at home in last year’s Division Two Grand Final series, winning 2-1. After dropping the first game of the series 61-49, the Eagles put the squeeze on Blackburn defensively, winning the decider in a thriller 37-35. They will face Camberwell in their first taste of Division One basketball. The Dragons found themselves in mid-table obscurity in 2018 after finishing eighth with a 10-12 record and will be keen to establish some dominance over the rookies of the competition.

The Dragons will need to back up for a second game in two days, as they take on Warrandyte at 2pm on Sunday. The Venom were woeful last year with a 4-18 record which included only one away win all season. Warrandyte could be hard pressed to come away with a result against a Dragons team that typically takes care of business on their homecourt. 

Bellarine vs Western Port                                           Sat 5.30pm                  Bellarine Sports Centre

Chelsea vs Latrobe City                                               Sat 6pm                       Patterson River Stadium

Mildura vs Hawthorn                                                  Sat 6pm                       Toyota Hothouse

Craigieburn vs Camberwell                                         Sat 8pm                       Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Camberwell vs Warrandyte                                        Sun 2pm                      Balwyn High School

Division Two Men

Camberwell and RMIT kick us off on Saturday night, as they are one of six games that take place on a Super Saturday of basketball. 2018 was a positive season for the Dragons as they ended the regular season third on the ladder, but were knocked out by Mildura in the Elimination Final. Competing in their inaugural season, the Redbacks enter the campaign with minimal expectations, which will benefit them as they strive to stamp their mark in the league.

Southern Peninsiula Sharks will aim to put away the misery of last year’s Elimination Final exit behind them when they host Altona at Hillview Stadium on Saturday night. The Sharks won four of their last five games to finish fourth in the regular season, but could not transcend their good form into the finals and came up short against Melton. Altona seek to make the finals in 2019, after finishing ninth last season with 10 wins in the campaign.

Pakenham and Maccabi will strive for finals action this season as both missed out on the playoffs by two wins. Pakenham’s strength last season was their offence, which was the fourth best in the division, while Maccabi had the fourth stingiest defence in Division Two.

Melton host North East Bushrangers on Saturday night at the Melton Indoor Recreation Centre. The Thoroughbreds advanced to the semi-finals, while the Bushrangers failed to win a game all season. Melton’s run to the playoffs eventuated after three wins in a row at the end of the regular season, while the Bushrangers finsihed 12th.

Mildura host Sherbrooke at Toyota Hothouse at 8pm on Saturday night. The Heat dispelled of their jittery end of regular season form to advance to the Grand Final from sixth on the table. Mildura’s form in the finals makes them one of the favourites for the title this season, after premiers Coburg moved to Division One in the off-season. Sherbrooke’s six wins last season saw them finish 11th on the ladder.

Mornington’s inagural campaign begins against the Craigieburn Eagles. Similar to RMIT, the Breakers enter the campaign with minimal expectations, while the Eagles will want to improve in their disappointed end to the season, which saw them knocked out in the Semi-Finals by Mildura despite finishing the regular season top of the table.

RMIT back up their opening game by hosting Wallan, who seek to improve from their 10th place finish last season.

The Bushrangers host Camberwell in the final game of the weekend on Sunday at  1pm.

Camberwell vs RMIT                                                   Sat 6pm                       Balwyn High School

Southern Peninsula vs Altona                                     Sat 7.30pm                  Hillview Stadium

Pakenham vs Maccabi                                                Sat 8pm                       Cardinia Life

Melton vs North East                                                  Sat 8pm                       Melton Indoor Recreation Centre

Mildura vs Sherbrooke                                               Sat 8pm                       Toyota Hothouse

Mornington vs Craigieburn                                        Sat 8.30pm                  Mornington Basketball Stadium

RMIT vs Wallan                                                           Sun 12pm                    RMIT Sports Centre

North East vs Camberwell                                          Sun 1pm                      Wangaratta Indoor Sports Aquatic Centre

Division Two Women

Melton welcome the Bushrangers to open the Division Two Women’s season in a clash between two teams that narrowly missed out on the finals last season. The Thoroughbreds will look to build off an 18-game campaign that saw them cap off their season with two straight wins. Meanwhile, the Bushrangers split their last six games 3-3 to finish two wins shy of a finals berth.

Coburg host the Black Angels to continue Saturday night’s opening round fixture. The Giants will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing two-win season, ending the season in ninth place. They will look to get a leg up on a Black Angels team that bowed out in the semi-finals last year after claiming third place. Melbourne University will no doubt be up there again this season and out to go one step further.

Sherbrooke and Wallan do battle to close out Saturday night’s three-game schedule. The Suns finished on the bottom of the table last season with just two wins, but were able to close out the season with a blowout victory over the Black Angels. Meanwhile, Wallan fell at the penultimate hurdle, losing to the Vikings 60-67 in the semi final. The Panthers will be out to make amends in their opening game of 2019.

Mornington and Blackburn open the Division Two Women’s Sunday fixture at Mornington Basketball Stadium. The Vikings came from nowhere to find themselves in the grand final, although after claiming game one of the series, they were edged out 37-35 in the game three decider. They will take plenty of confidence into the new campaign considering how strongly they finished 2018. Mornington also closed out last season in impressive fashion, winning four of their last five to finish eighth. The Breakers will be no pushovers at home.

Capping off round one is a meeting between Pakenham and Collingwood. Pakenham play their first game re-entering the competition and will want to start on a positive note against a a Collingwood outfit that won eight games last season. The All Stars were in the mix of playing finals but finished off the season with just two wins over their last five matches. Collingwood could shape as one of the big improvers in 2019.

Melton vs. North East Bushrangers                            Sat 6pm                       Melton Indoor Recreation Centre
Coburg vs. Melbourne University Black Angels          Sat 6.30pm                  Coburg Basketball Stadium   
Sherbrooke vs. Wallan                                                Sat 8pm                       Belgrave Heights Christian School
Mornington vs. Blackburn                                          Sun 1pm                      Mornington Basketball Stadium
Pakenham vs. Collingwood                                         Sun 2pm                      Cardinia Life   

Victorian Youth Championship Men

Blackburn and Dandenong kick off the Victorian Youth Championship Men’s season on Saturday night. The Vikings lost their last five games of the season to finish fifth in the Watson Conference, while the Rangers were eliminated in the first week of the finals despite topping the Terrill conference.

Diamond Valley host the Sherbrooke Suns at the Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre. The Eagles won three of their last five games last season to finish seventh on the ladder in the Watson Conference, while the Suns advanced to the second week of the finals.

The Knox Raiders will aim to improve on their form from last season when they host the Bulleen Boomers. The Raiders finished seventh in the Terrill conference, while the Boomers finished top of the Watson conference. Bulleen however were eliminated in the first week of the finals.

Keilor will hope to bounce back from their horror showing in the finals last season when they host the Melbourne Tigers. The Thunder lost by 20 points against the Sherbrooke Suns in the first week of the finals, while the Tigers finsished sixth in the Terrill conference.

McKinnon host reigning premiers Nunawading on Saturday night. The Cougars finished just outside of the finals, while their Terrill conference rivals claimed the premiership in two games against Eltham.

Eltham will want to put their Grand Final misery behind them when they face Ringwood. The Hawks finished last in the Terrill conference, with only 10 wins in the season.

It’s an all-Watson conference battle when Kilsyth host the Southern Sabres. Kilsyth suffered a one-point defeat to Eltham in the first week of the finals last season, while the Sabres finished sixth, with only eight wins for the season.

Nunawading and Diamond Valley back up their opening night encounters by meeting at Nunawading Basketball Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Southern Sabres play their second game against the Hawthorn Magic, who progressed to the second round of the finals in 2018.

Waverley begin begin their inaugural campaign by hosting Blackburn at the Waverley Basketball Centre.    

Blackburn vs Dandenong                                            Sat 6pm                       Mullum Mullum Stadium

McKinnon vs Nunawading                                          Sat 6pm                       GESAC

Eltham vs Ringwood                                                   Sat 7pm                       Eltham High School

Kilsyth vs Southern                                                     Sat 7.30pm                  Kilsyth Sports Centre

Diamond Valley vs Sherbrooke                                  Sat 7.30pm                  Diamond Valley Sports Fitness Centre

Knox vs Bulleen                                                           Sat 8pm                       Knox Basketball Stadium

Keilor vs Melbourne                                                   Sun 1.30pm                 Keilor Basketball Stadium

Nunawading vs Diamond Valley                                 Sun 2.30pm                 Nunawading Basketball Satdium

Southern vs Hawthorn                                                Sun 2.30pm                 Southern Basketball Stadium

Waverley vs Blackburn                                               Sun 2.30pm                 Waverley Basketball Centre

Victorian Youth Championship Women

Diamond Valley open the season against the Bendigo Braves on Saturday night. Both sides are coming off elimination final exits last season and will hope to improve on the early playoff exits this campaign.

Kilsyth will hope to put aside their 40-point elimination final defeat when they face the Southern Sabres. While the Cobras will want to turn around their playoff form, the Sabres will enter the 2019 season as premiership favourites, having won the premiership last season.

Sunbury kick off their first season in the Victorian Youth Championship Women against the Hume City Broncos. The Broncos will hope to improve on their poor showing in 2018, which saw them finish seventh in the Terrill conference.

Knox and Altona face off in the battle of the Terrill rivals on Saturday night. The Raiders seek redemption in 2019 for their Grand Final defeat to the Sabres last season, while the Gators were unfortunate to miss out on the finals, despite ending the season with a 68.18 win percentage.

Hume City return to the court on Sunday against the Dandenong Rangers, who are coming off a sixth place finish in the Watson conference in 2018.

Ballarat and the Melbourne Tigers open their campaign at 12pm on Sunday. The Rush ended 2018 on a nine game losing streak, while the Tigers won their final eight games in the regular season, before bowing out in the preliminary finals.

Southern back up their opening game by hosting Hawthorn. The Magic could only muster a sixth place finish in the Terrill conference last season, despite having the fourth best offence in the conference.

Nunawading begin their campaign against Knox. The Spectres fell seven points short of progressing to the grand final last season and will hope to go one step better in 2019.

Waverley kick off their first season in the Victorian Youth Championship Women’s competition against Sunbury at the Waverley Basketball Centre on Sunday afternoon.

The final game of the round sees Bulleen host Ringwood. The Boomers won only three games last season, while the Hawks bowed out in the opening week of the finals, despite finishing the regular season top of the Watson conference.

Diamond Valley vs Bendigo                                        Sat 5.30pm                  Diamond Valley Sports Fitness Centre

Kilsyth vs Southern                                                     Sat 5.30pm                  Kilsyth Sports Centre

Sunbury vs Hume City                                                Sat 6pm                       Boardman Stadium

Knox vs Altona                                                            Sat 6pm                       Knox Basketball Stadium

Hume City vs Dandenong                                           Sun 12pm                    Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Ballarat vs Melbourne                                                Sun 12pm                    Mars Minerdome

Southern vs Hawthorn                                                Sun 12.30pm               Southern Basketball Stadium

Nunawading vs Knox                                                  Sun 12.30pm               Nunawading Basketball Stadium

Waverley vs Sunbury                                                  Sun 12.30pm               Waverley Basketball Centre

Bulleen vs Ringwood                                                  Sun 1.30pm                 East Doncaster Secondary College

Youth League One Men

Camberwell host Ballarat at Balwyn High School to open the league on Saturday night. Camberwell will look to improve on their 10-win campaign to narrowly miss the finals last season. Ballarat finished their 2018 campaign off with five-straight wins to just finish outside of the top six. 

The Stringrays and Broncos do battle to continue Saturday night’s fixture in Geelong. After finishing last season in fifth place, Corio Bay bowed out of the finals race in a loss to Geelong. Meanwhile, Hume City will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing eight-win campaign. Both teams will be hungry to taste finals.

Warrandyte and Bendigo clash in a contest that is shaping as a one-sided affair. The Venom just escaped into the post-season in 2018 with 11 wins but were bounced out of the first round at the hands of Werribee. The Braves will look to bounce back from a horror six-win season, dropping four of their last five.

Werribee and Sunbury close out Saturday night’s fixture at Eagle Stadium in a battle of the heavyweights. The Jets will be keen to atone from their narrow grand final series defeat to Waverley. Sunbury finished on top of the table last season at 20-2, including an undefeated home record. On the other side, Werribee finished third and lost their semi-final meeting with Waverley.

Sunbury will back up their clash with Werribee by hosting Casey on Sunday afternoon. The Cavaliers will be fresh and looking to pinch one on the road, but after claiming just eight wins last season, are no shoe-in. Hume City were one of the most inconsistent teams of 2018, but could turn their fortunes around against last year’s runner-up.

Geelong and Altona clash to continue Sunday’s schedule at AWA Alliance Bank Stadium. The Gators will get a tough introduction into the league in a road game against Geelong, but are an unknown quantity that could be anything. The Supercats finished last season in fourth place but fell to the Jets in the semi final.

Hume City and Warrandyte hit the floor again on Sunday for their second round one clash. The Venom were poor on the road last season at 4-7, therefore, the Broncos are every chance of pinching one.

Ballarat continue Sunday’s card in a home clash against Corio Bay between two teams that finished in the middle ground last season and would both like at least walk out of the round with one win.

To cap off round one, Frankston host Werribee as another one of the league’s newcomers tests themselves against a quality opponent in their own building.

Camberwell vs Ballarat                                               Sat 4pm                       Balwyn High School

Corio Bay vs Hume City                                              Sat 6pm                       Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Warrandyte vs Bendigo                                              Sat 6pm                       Warrandyte Sports Complex

Werribee vs Sunbury                                                  Sat 8.30pm                  Eagle Stadium

Sunbury vs Casey                                                        Sun 12pm                    Boardman Stadium

Geelong vs Altona                                                       Sun 2pm                      AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Hume City vs Warrandyte                                          Sun 2pm                      Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Ballarat vs Corio Bay                                                   Sun 2pm                      Mars Minerdome

Frankston vs Werribee                                               Sun 2.30pm                 Frankston Basketball Stadium

Youth League One Women

Corio Bay host Eltham to kick off the Youth League One Women’s competition on Saturday night. The Stingrays finished 2018 in seventh place, but were only two wins shy of the fourth-placed McKinnon. Eltham were one of the major disappointments of last season, finishing with just two wins. Both teams will identify this as a winnable game and would be keen to start the new season on a positive note.

Casey and Keilor go head-to-head at Casey Stadium as the former comes in for their first game in the league. The Cavaliers’ introduction will come against last season’s minor premiers, who were swept in the grand final series to end what was an otherwise positive season. The Thunder dropped just two games for the entirety of 2018 and closed out the regular season with five-straight wins. With the taste of defeat still fresh in their mouth from the decider, Keilor will be keen to open the new season with a victory.

Craigieburn welcome Camberwell to town to cap off Saturday night’s schedule at Craigieburn Sports Stadium. Both teams finished just shy of the top four last season at 10-10 apiece to seed fifth and sixth respectively. The Eagles closed out 2018 in slightly better fashion, claiming three wins over their last five games and will have finals on  their mind in the new season. The Dragons will be just as keen to add another couple of wins to their tally that would see them qualify for the postseason.

Geelong and McKinnon clash at AWA Alliance Bank Stadium to open Sunday’s card. The Supercats were the dark horse for last season’s title but were no match for the Jets in the playoffs after getting swept in the semi final. Geelong were actually weaker on the road and come up against a Cougars outfit that won 11 games in 2018. McKinnon would fancy themselves to go further into the finals last year, especially with Sunbury out of the picture.

Camberwell and Warrandyte close out the round in a meeting at Balwyn High School. The Dragons would want to walk out of the weekend with just one win after they back up Saturday’s game with a home clash against newcomers Warrandyte. However, the Venom could look to pounce on a Camberwell outfit that may be tired from their back-to-back. Warrandyte would no doubt love to make a statement to the league by getting a big win over one of the finals aspirants.

Corio Bay vs Eltham                                                    Sat 4pm                       Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Casey vs Keilor                                                            Sat 6pm                       Casey Stadium

Craigieburn vs Camberwell                                         Sat 6pm                       Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Geelong vs McKinnon                                                 Sun 12pm                    AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Camberwell vs Warrandyte                                        Sun 12pm                    Balwyn High School

Youth League Two Men

The  2019 Youth League Two Men’s season begins with Chelsea hosting Melton at the Patterson River Stadium. Chelsea will seek to improve on their eighth place finish last season and climb the table this year. The Gulls won 11 games, with six of the victories coming at home. After a disappointing ninth place finish in 2017, the Thoroughbreds finished fourth in the regular season last year. However, their playoff journey ended in the first week as they were beaten by Pakenham.

It is the battle of the Warriors as Pakenhham face Maccabi on Saturday night. Pakenham will seek to avenge their grand final defeat this season and have a prime opportunity to begin the year with a victory by playing at a venue they won nine games at last season. Maccabi will aim to climb the table, after finishing ninth last season with a 41.67 win percentage.

It was a tale of corresponding season’s for Keysborough and Craigieburn last season, as the Cougars finished 11th, while the Eagles advanced to the preliminary final. Craigieburn won seven games on the road last season and won the last encounter against the Cougars by 23 points in round 13.

Wallan can open their season with a win when they host the Western Port Steelers. The Panthers won only three games in 2018, with only one of those victories occuring at home. The Steelers finished a disappointing seventh last season, as they would have replaced Mornington in the top six had they won one of their final two games.

Collingwood face newcomers Coburg at the Darebin Community Sports Stadium on Saturday night. The All Stars finished second in the regular season but were eliminated by Pakenham in the second week of the finals. Coburg hope to begin life in League Two with a win after a less than impressive campaign in League One in 2018. The Giants won only two games in an otherwise disappointing season that saw them finish last.

In the final game of the weekend, the Whittlesea Pacers host the Mornington Breakers at Mill Park Baskteball Centre. The Pacers finished 10th in 2018 with 10 wins in the campaign. A positive for the Pacers is that seven of those wins occurred in front of their home fans. Mornington snuck into the finals last season, despite losing four of their last five games. Their bad form continued in the playoffs as they lost by 13 points to Pakenham in the first week of the finals.

Chelsea vs Melton                                                      Sat 4pm                       Patterson River Stadium

Pakenham vs Maccabi                                                Sat 6pm                       Cardinia Life

Keysborough vs Craigieburn                                       Sat 6pm                       Rowville Secondary College

Wallan vs Western Port                                              Sat 7.30pm                  RB Robson Stadium

Collingwood vs Coburg                                               Sat 8pm                       Darebin Community Sports Stadium

Whittlesea vs Mornington                                          Sun 2pm                      Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Youth League Two Women

Sherbrooke host Whittlesea in the first clash for the Youth League Two Women’s fixture on Saturday night. The Suns will look to bounce back from their disappointing 2-16 campaign, with only the winless Breakers finishing below them in the standings. They meet a Pacers outfit that went 11-7 and bowed out of the finals in the second round. Whittlesea were vulnerable on the road last season at 4-5 so don’t completely rule the Suns out.

Werribee and Collingwood meet at Eagle Stadium to continue Saturday night’s card. The Devils are coming off a seven-win season, but will favour themselves at home where they claimed four victories. The All Stars play in their first game and will be keen to knock off one of 2018’s most patchy outfits. Losing a home game against the league’s newcomers would be a disappointing way to begin the new season for Werribee and cold paint the picture for the rest of their campaign.

Mornington and Western Port close out Saturday with a clash at Mornington Basketball Stadium. The Breakers were 0-18 in 2018 in what was nothing short than a disastrous season for the wooden spooners. They take on a Steelers team that nearly played finals, finishing off their season by winning four of their last five. Western Port will back themselves to finish where they left off in what shapes as a must-win clash if they are serious about making the playoffs this season.

Pakenham are at home to Chelsea to open Sunday’s schedule as the former aspires to gone step further than their third-round finals defeat to runners-up Frankston. Additionally, the Warriors finished second on the ladder and did not lose at home during the regular season, meaning they shouldn’t have any problems with newcomers Chelsea.

Coburg and Blackburn clash at Coburg Basketball Stadium with the latter looking to improve on their 10-win campaign that guided them to the postseason, only to be blown out by the Pacers in week one. They come against a Coburg team that are also new to the league, therefore present great uncertainty. The Vikings will be  more than up for the fight. 

rankston and Werribee do battle in the final clash of the round as the Devils finish a back-to-back. The Blues snuck into the grand final series last year despite sitting third with just 11 wins, but were outclassed by Casey in the decider. Frankston will be confident that they can carry the momentum that they had at the end of last season into 2019. 

Sherbrooke vs Whittlesea                                          Sat 6pm                       Belgrave Heights Christian School

Werribee vs Collingwood                                           Sat 6.30pm                  Eagle Stadium

Mornington vs Western Port                                      Sat 6.30pm                  Mornington Basketball Stadium

Pakenham vs Chelsea                                                 Sun 12pm                    Cardinia Life

Coburg vs Blackburn                                                   Sun 12pm                    Coburg Basketball Stadium

Frankston vs Werribee                                               Sun 12.30pm               Frankston Basketball Stadium

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