Round 9 Previews

Another week of Big V action is upon us! Read about each of the competition’s twelve divisions as they prepare for the weekend of fixtures.

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

State Championship Men

Eltham can jump into the top two when they tackle inconsistent Knox. The Wildcats have won five straight games and will start warm favourites against a Raiders side which has traded wins and losses for much of the season. Another defeat for the Raiders could see alarm bells start to ring.

Ringwood will look to bounce back from a rare defeat when they welcome Hume City. The Broncos are sitting eighth with a 4-6 record and are on the verge of having their season ended. A trip to the Rings is probably the last thing they needed, especially with the Hawks having a wake-up call at Eltham last start.

Waverley and McKinnon will resume hostilities in a top two clash. The Falcons are the hottest team in the league with six straight victories, while the Cougars have bounced back from a tough patch with three straight wins of their own. This result could be crucial later in the season when the sides are jostling for ladder positions, and the home side will hold a slight edge.

McKinnon welcomes Hawthorn on Sunday to complete a tough double. The Magic have been the surprise packet of the 2018 season and are looming as a legitimate finals contender. This matchup will be a stern test to those credentials and a win on the road for Hawthorn would be absolutely massive.

Knox will seek a much-needed win when they host Corio Bay. The Stingrays haven’t been awful but sit at the foot of the table with a 1-8 record and will face a tough ask to get their second win of the season against the Raiders. That said, stranger things have happened and the home side hasn’t been themselves lately. A big win is needed for Knox to steady the ship.

Werribee faces the red-hot Wildcats in a tough matchup for the Devils. With a 4-7 record at the halfway point of the season, finals are slipping from their grasp quickly. A 1-5 home record certainly hasn’t helped their cause, and that stat makes it even harder to see a win for the home side here against one of the title favourites.

Keilor and Blackburn will go head-to-head in a matchup where both sides will desperately be seeking their third win of the 2018 season. There hasn’t been much to cheer about for either side but they have both been far from disgraced to date. Seven straight losses for the Thunder is the equal-longest skid in the league right now, and with the Vikings currently winless on the road, they have a golden opportunity to change that.

Casey tackles Waverley in the last game of the weekend, with the Cavs in the mid-table log jam and in need of a win as well. Another defeat for the home side here puts them well and truly on the back foot in the hunt for finals, while the Falcons will see this as a must-win as well for their top two aspirations. Could be closer than their ladder positions suggest, with the Cavs impressive at home on their day.

Eltham vs Knox                                                Sat 8pm                                   Eltham High School

Ringwood vs Hume City                                  Sat 8pm                                   The Rings

Waverley vs McKinnon                                   Sat 8:30pm                              Waverley Basketball Centre

McKinnon vs Hawthorn                                  Sun 2pm                                  GESAC

Knox vs Corio Bay                                           Sun 2pm                                  State Basketball Centre

Werribee vs Eltham                                        Sun 3pm                                  Eagle Stadium

Keilor vs Blackburn                                         Sun 3:30pm                             Keilor Basketball Stadium

Casey vs Waverley                                          Sun 4pm                                  Casey Stadium


State Championship Women

Hawks (7-­‐2) vs Broncos (4-­‐3)

These two have had some ding-­‐dong battles over the last five years, but right now the Hawks seem to have the upperhand. This round is the halfway mark of the season and this is a crucial game for Hume City as they try to stay in touch with the top half. Nothing would serve the away team’s finals aspirations than by taking the scalp of the highly-­‐fancied Hawks. This contest will feature great match-­‐ups across the court and the end result could come down to the role players coming off the bench play. Expect a close result either way, certainly the Broncos shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Thunder (3-­‐5) vs Wildcats (1-­‐7)

A real chance here for the Thunder to grab another win and stay in touch with top five. Keilor has been incredibly competitive in their first season in SCW and could be an outside chance of making finals, but such achievements only come if you take advantage of winnable games like this one. On the flipside, the disappointing Wildcats need to step up and start winning some games and taking down the Thunder would be a good start. The home team start favourites and if they can limit Alice Kunek they should chalk up a good win.

Cougars (2-­‐7) vs Boomers (0-­‐9)

A big weekend for McKinnon with games against a winless Bulleen and a desperate Sunbury. The first is this home clash against the Boomers and it presents as a real danger game for the Cougars as they try and stay in touch with the top half. The Boomers have been below par so far and need to start showing some fight. Though it looks like finals are well beyond the Boomers, the chance to prevent others from making it, like McKinnon, is something they should be trying to do. Danger game for McKinnon and a big opportunity for Bulleen to finally celebrate something. If they hold any hope of making finals, McKinnon MUST win.

Jets (4-­‐4) vs Cougars (2-­‐7)

Sunbury has been anything but consistent so far this season and quickly needs to find some continued form and a run of wins. The chance to make it three wins from four games comes here against McKinnon and all things being equal the Jets should get the job done. The form of Orla O’Reilly has been outstanding and if the Cougars can’t limit her then this game looks beyond them. Jets at home look too strong.

Falcons (8-­‐1) vs Raiders (8-­‐1)

Not only is top spot up for grabs, but there is every chance this clash will be repeated in late August when a title is on the line. The Falcons have won eight straight, while the Raiders have won six in a row. Both teams are in form, both look fit and healthy and are stacked with star players. Carly Mijovic will have settled in for the Raiders and will be a pivotal player against her former Big V team, while over at Waverley the red hot form of Kelly Bowen has them well placed to deliver the goods. Huge game and plenty of bragging rights on the line.

Ringwood vs Hume City Sat 6pm The Rings
Keilor vs Eltham Sat 7:30pm Keilor Basketball Stadium
McKinnon vs Bulleen Sat 8pm GESAC
Sunbury vs McKinnon Sun 2pm Boardman Stadium
Waverley vs Knox Sun 2pm Waverley Basketball Centre

Division One Men

Black Angels (4-­‐6) vs Jets (3-­‐9):

Melbourne Uni has won a couple in a row and another dub here will see them continuing to climb the ladder. The Jets split last weekend and at least have some confidence, but if Armstrong and Masunda fire it should lift the home team to a win.

Boomers (5-­‐6) vs Pacers (3-­‐7):

This looms as a danger game for Bulleen as the Pacers can be wildly unpredictable. Bulleen weren’t flash last week and will be eager to bounce back, but beware a Pacers team with very little to lose from this point forward.

Energy (1-­‐10) vs Seahawks (5-­‐5):

Warrnambool bounced back with a great win last week and will look to keep that going with a trip to face the lowly Energy. The likes of Blount, Sobey and Crockett will keep the crowd entertained, but expect nothing less than a comfortable Seahawks win.

Gulls (8-­‐3) vs Supercats (4-­‐5):

Chelsea’s recent inconsistency (WLWLW) remains a concern, but on their home deck they should have too much talent for the Supercats. The visitors can get going if shots are dropping, but finding a way to stop Standerfer and Brasser in particular looks beyond them.

Cougars (9-­‐2) vs Venom (5-­‐5):

Warrandyte has lost three in a row and right now they need to cause another one of those big upsets to make sure they stay in touch with the top half – will this be the game they do it? The Cougars will start red-­‐hot favourites, but as we’ve seen before, taking the Venom lightly, especially on their home floor, can be a big mistake. The Venom will need to be at their absolute best if an upset is to occur, though.

All Stars (4-­‐6) vs Steelers (7-­‐3):

Colingwood’s slide down the ladder (4 straight losses) has been dramatic and they just have to grind out a win to restore some confidence. Right now there could be no better boost than by beating the Steelers. All eyes will be on the Hendrix vs Travis showdown.

Gators (10-­‐1) vs Boomers (5-­‐6):

A big weekend for Bulleen, but this trip looms as a tough gig after a Saturday night game. The Gators are in form (5 straight wins) and will be sitting and waiting for the Boomers. Thadd Varmall will try and carry Bulleen on his broad shoulders again, but this mountain looks too big to climb.

Supercats (4-­‐5) vs All Stars (4-­‐6):

A winnable game for both teams. If either comes out and delivers an up-­‐tempo style then it might be enough to get an early break and go on for a much-­‐needed win. A crucial contest for both teams, time to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.

Pacers (3-­‐7) vs Gulls (8-­‐3):

Both teams come in off the back of a game the previous night and depending on those results we may see a tighter than expected contest, or we could just see a blowout going the way of the Gulls. The visitors have the talent to grab a strong win, but Whittlesea at home should not be underestimated.

Melbourne Uni vs Sunbury Sat 7pm Melbourne University Sports Centre
Bulleen vs Whittlesea Sat 8pm East Doncaster Secondary College
Latrobe City vs Warrnambool Sat 8pm Latrobe Leisure Moe Newborough
Chelsea vs Geelong Sat 8pm Patterson River Stadium
Keysborough vs Warrandyte Sat 8pm Rowville Secondary College
Collingwood vs Western Port Sat 8:30pm Collingwood College
Shepparton vs Bulleen Sun 1pm Shepparton Sports Stadium
Geelong vs Collingwood Sun 2pm AWA Alliance Bank Stadium
Whittlesea vs Chelsea Sun 3pm Mill Park Basketball Stadium


Division One Women

The Heat will say goodbye to 2nd place and reclaim that number 1 spot at weekend’s end, thanks to two winnable games and head to head over the Cavs. The Saturday night sees them take on the Venom, a side that although has improved over the past few weeks, will pose no threat to the Heat and their first W for the round. They are purely and simply too strong of a side for the Venom and have no one or no group to match the shooting power that comes with this Heat side.

Although the Heat’s Sunday match up is a game that the Heat can win, they are already one game down against this side. They meet with the Pacers again and will be looking to redeem their round 3, 10 point loss. Since then the Pacers have had a couple of low points and will be striving to get a win on the board. But the question is, will it be against the Heat making it 2 from 2, or will the Heat hit them with their 3rd straight loss and possibly take head to head over them as well?

For a team that is on a losing streak, you wouldn’t want to be coming up against the 1st and 2nd sides in the one weekend. Unfortunately for the Pacers, this is what they are in for this weekend. While they meet with the Heat on the Sunday, they first have the Cavs to contend with on the Saturday. This side is strong and have a don’t give up attitude, which was present in their game against the Devils last week where they dug deep to take the win in OT. These two have come up against each other previously, but it was back in round 1. The Cavs got the job done on that occasion and are looking like making it 2 from 2.

The streak will only continue for the Mermaids, coming up against the struggling Energy on the Saturday. It will be a long drive for this Mermaids side but the travel is always worth it for a win. Similar to the game above, these sides both played back in round 1. It was a comfortable win for the Mermaids on that occasion, 16 points to be exact. The Energy do have the ability to put points on the board with Miller and Melbourne both strong contributors. But sometimes they are on and sometimes they are off. Who knows what side they will be on this weekend?

The Dragons have put themselves in a strong position and have worked hard for it too. They are on a two game winning streak having won these games by margins of 1 and 3. They will be heading for win number 3 and there is no doubt that they will be taking this win by double digits. Their opponent for this weekend is the Steelers, the team sitting with the rest of the competition on their shoulders.

This next game is going to be an interesting re-match, the Devils taking on the Venom. Going back to their first game in round 1, it was a low scoring game but it was the Devils who took home the W. Both sides have come along way since then so from where we sit, this one could go either way. The Venom will need to look out for the Devils shooters in Bennett, Price and Slade but even if they manage this, they need to make sure they are putting points on the board themselves.

The Supercats have been up and down over the past few weeks and find themselves in a tough situation this weekend. They will meet with the Gulls on the Sunday, followed by the Magic on the Sunday. It is hard to judge which way these games will go as both the Gulls and the Magic can be inconsistent at times also. The Gulls are sitting in 4th so therefore already have the advantage but history has shown that they can succomb to teams below them. Import Raynisha Washington really needs some help on the offensive end if the Gulls are to string some wins together.

As for the Magic, we are waiting for them to take off. They have conjured up a team that have the ability to do great things and maybe this game against the Supercats will be the game to start them off. But the Supercats are a bit of the unknown. They can come out and surprise some of the best teams in the comp but other times they struggle to compete at all.

Latrobe vs. Warrnambool                               Sat 6pm                                   Latrobe Leisure Moe Newborough

Chelsea vs. Geelong                                        Sat 6pm                                   Patterson River Stadium

Warrandyte vs. Mildura                                  Sat 7pm                                   Warrandyte Sports Complex

Western Port vs. Camberwell                        Sat 7.30pm                              David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Casey vs. Whittlesea                                      Sat 8pm                                   Casey Stadium

Geelong vs. Hawthorn                                    Sun 12pm                                AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Werribee vs. Warrandyte                               Sun 1pm                                  Eagle Stadium

Whittlesea vs. Mildura                                    Sun 1pm                                  Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Division Two Men

It’s amazing what a win can do for your teams confidence, but how about 6 wins straight surely that has to have you up and about, and having two of your players tick over 200 games to top it off. Well this is the case for Craigieburn as they head into round 9 defending their stellar run, they have proved they are one of the toughest teams in the comp showing it doesn’t matter who’s court it is, with 4 of their 6 past wins being on the road. The Warriors may sit 6th on the ladder but this does not mean they are going to be a push over, they will test the Eagles with their size and their ability to get to the hoop, could this be the game that stops the Eagles in their tracks?

Ticking over his 150th game milestone in style last week Nat O’Hara this week will lead his team to hopefully another victory  against the Thoroughbreds which will see them maintain top spot on the ladder at the half way point of the season. Melton have had an inconsistent start to the season going down to some of the teams on the lower half of the ladder but yet get up over the top sides, including Coburg last week. If Melton are on they can be deadly but sadly if they are not they can be the complete opposite, which makes them a hard team to scout as you never know what team you are going to get on the night. Camberwell have the size and and the pace that I think is going to get them over the line but I think its going to be a close one!

Another side who started so well but have struggled to keep their form is Sherbrooke who have dropped some games I’m sure their coach would have said they should have easily got the win from but have dropped the ball. The Eagles proved that high pressure defence is the key to stopping the Suns who love the fast pace and love to shoot the ball, we cant say to much about their defence however as this would be their biggest downfall, if they want a chance against Mildura they are going to have to bump up that defensive pressure but still continue to make it rain like we all know they can.

After a mixed round last week the Giants will be kicking themselves for losing that top position, this week they may be playing the bottom side but that doesn’t mean its going to be easy. North East have been getting better and better each week, Coburg’s bigs will have a job to try stop the Bushies big man Richard Townsend-Gant and find a way to get around him to the hoop. North East have to be careful because if they don’t come out of the block firing the Giants may leave them for dead quick smart.

Let’s go back to round 1 when these two teams first met this season in what you could say was a heated first round match up, with Mildura getting up over the Gators by 14 points at the Hothouse, but it’s the Gators turn for the home court advantage as Mildura continue their double away weekend with a trip to the Swamp. After a couple losses Mildura have slipped just out of the top 4, if they can get 2-2 this weekend this will push them back up into the top 4 and depending on how other teams fair they could even take top spot, but it is unlikely all 4 top teams will lose this round. I think the Gators may find themselves a little out of their depth this match as the Heat have evolved from round 1 while Altona unfortunately haven’t seemed to have had the same growth.

What a big weekend the Eagles have this round, first Pakenham and now Southern Pen, I can guarantee Southern Pen are kicking themselves for not having key player Colin Voss for this match up. He has proved to be a massive loss for the Sharks who have lost both games since he was sidelined, this has opened the door for others to step up, unfortunately those are some big shoes to fill. If Craigieburn can go home with a win here and Saturday night, they could steal the number 1 spot out from under Camberwell’s noses if Camberwell fall off the wagon.

Wallan have been plagued with injuries in the past few weeks and will be interesting to see if two of their starters, Jaak Ponsford or Hayden Annett will suit up in this match, with both of them out it could really change the dynamic’s of the Wallan team. Sherbrooke like the faster paced game, while Wallan set themselves and run their plays. The match up I am looking forward to is Kaine Malloy and Eric Miraflores, we all know Miraflores can make some unbelievable baskets but will he be able to handle the ruff and tough pressure that Malloy is well known for?

Pakenham vs. Craigieburn                              Sat 7pm                                   Cardina Life

Melton vs. Camberwell                                  Sat 7pm                                   Melton Indoor Rec Centre

Sherbrooke vs. Mildura                                  Sat 8pm                                   Belgrave Heights Christian School

Coburg vs. North East                                     Sat 8:30pm                              Coburg Basketball Stadium

Altona vs. Mildura                                         Sun 11am                                Altona Sports Stadium

Craigieburn vs. Southern Pen                         Sun 2pm                                  Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Wallan vs. Sherbrooke                                    Sun 2pm                                  RB Robson Stadium


Division Two Women

Match of the Round to tip off Round 9 has the potential on current form to be the season decider as a top of the table clash looms with Melb Uni travelling up Sydney Rd to Craigieburn. Both teams have a very healthy percentage which demonstrates whilst the often put the brakes on defensively, they are still able to keep their end of the scoreboard ticking over.Home court advantage might be the edge that tips this one in the Eagles favour and while they have had genuine injury concerns in recent weeks, they find a way to keep winning. The Black Angels also have plenty of scoring options too, and have been impressive with the way they’ve put teams away. One team has a clean record, one has been undefeated since the end of Round 1 so expect a close encounter.

Coburg showed some signs last week they are ready to attack the second half of the season with a new team game style. The next test comes this week as they host a very competitive unit in North East fresh off a week off and playing their first of two games this round. The scoring battle between Special K and Rachel Jeffrey will be intriguing.

Wallan are also back in the mix this weekend with a Home/Away double. First up the Panthers host the Suns from Sherbrooke where on paper the home side might be just too strong as the Suns continue to develop as newcomers to the division.

Collingwood then host Wallan on the Sunday in the early afternoon match up. Last time, the Panthers hit the jump on the All Stars and never looked back, but that was at Robson and Collingwood have shown improvement since the Round 2 clash. Expect a close match up, with the All Stars home crowd spurring them on.

Mornington travel to the twin cities to take on North East who will be recovering on the bus trip back from Coburg the night before. The Breakers did a great job of getting over the line against Melton and will be looking to claim another Coburg induced scalp as they did last round. North East are quite a challenge to hold out at home, but Melton and Craigieburn prove it can be done.

Blackburn are continuing to build their form and are unbeaten at Home. They host Melton where the outcome will keep one of the teams in striking distance of the Top 4 at the end of the weekend and increase their ratio to above 50. Both teams are evenly matched and both keen to get back on the winners list after close losses last weekend, but Melton will need to get a solid start at Fort Knox.

Craigieburn vs. Melbourne Uni                                  Sat 6pm           Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Coburg vs.  North East                                                Sat 6:30pm      Coburg Basketball Stadium

Wallan vs. Sherbrooke                                                Sat 7pm           R B Robson Stadium

Collingwood vs. Wallan                                              Sun 1pm          Collingwood College

North East  vs. Mornington                                        Sun 2pm          Wodonga Indoor Recreation Centre

Blackburn vs. Melton                                                  Sun 3pm          Knox Basketball Stadium

Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men

A condensed round of Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men (for once) with just a nine game slate to take us through. Sherbrooke start the round off with a fixture against McKinnon. The Suns have been in nearly all of their games and are showing great signs of development, as well as their recruiting. One of the signs to show that was the difference in matches against powerhouse Dandenong. A 40-point defeat in the opening round of the season turned into a heartbreaking two-point loss last week. For the Cougars, they back up on Sunday at home against Hawthorn in what should be a testing match-up. Despite injury hitting the Cougs last week, they’ll have plenty of depth to keep up with the likes of Xavier Evans, Naoum Lazis and Cal McDonald.

The Magic go around at home on Saturday night against Melbourne so their weekend is no easy feat despite sitting atop of the Watson Conference. The Tigers are 1-4 on the road this year, which will need to significantly improve if they are to make any noise over the back end of the season.

For Melbourne, they back up on Sunday once again on the road to Ringwood. If the weekend goes pear shaped, they could end up 1-6 away from home and that could be disastrous! On the flip-side, win both of these massive games and the Tigers are roaring right back into the finals predicament at 7-7. Need their big guns to fire in Daniel Kinkela, Jakob Cornelissen and Mason Gaze.

Eltham and Knox go toe-to-toe on Saturday night and if both teams go in at full strength and at top form this is set to be a belter. The Raiders are 5-0 on the road this season and are really finding their feet once again in the competition. The ‘Cats on the other hand have been able to welcome back Ovie Magbegor with open arms to provide even more depth off the bench. Having won four of their last five, Eltham would start favs, however that loss came to Bulleen – a side Knox just swept off the canvas last week. Interesting battle!

The Wildcats’ weekend doesn’t get much easier on the Sunday when Nunawading await at The Graveyard. Having won four on the trot, and beating some handy opponents at that, the Spectres are in a rich vein of form. With a host of their players suiting up from their runners-up year last season, they’ll fancy themselves in every contest they’re pitted in now.

Sandringham are a team on the rise and can make it four wins in a row when they host a depleted Diamond Valley squad on Sunday. The Sabres are one of just two teams to knock off table toppers Hawthorn and their season record could easily be reversed if they had won some of those tight battles (3p L v SHER, 3p L v KIL, 3p L v MCK). The Valley on the other hand just haven’t been able to put it all together, and they’ve been calling on a few senior stars to pick up the slack.

Altona and Dandenong round out the weekend, with the Rangers heading to The Swamp as firm favs as the Gators have lost five on the bounce. Dogukan Elyazar and Jeremy Edwards seem to be producing week in, week out, but are in desperate need of some help, and it all starts on the defensive end as they’ve been giving up far too many points each week.

Sherbrooke vs. McKinnon                                               Sat 6pm                                    Belgrave Heights Christian School

Eltham vs. Knox                                                             Sat 6pm                                    Eltham High School

Hawthorn vs. Melbourne                                                Sat 7:30pm                               Boroondara Sports Complex

McKinnon vs. Hawthorn                                                 Sun 12pm                                 GESAC

Nunawading vs. Eltham                                                  Sun 12:30pm                            Nunawading Basketball Stadium

Keilor vs. Blackburn                                                       Sun 1:30pm                              Keilor Basketball Stadium

Ringwood vs. Melbourne                                                Sun 2pm                                   The Rings

Sandringham vs. Diamond Valley                                    Sun 2:30pm                              Nunn Media Basketball Centre

Altona vs. Dandenong                                                    Sun 3pm                                   Altona Sports Centre

Molten Victorian Youth Championship Women

Another huge 11 games take place inside Round Nine with some absolute belters included. Let’s kick it all off when Diamond Valley have arguably the toughest weekend of them all. With a home clash against the hottest team in town Ringwood to kick proceedings off, they then back it up against the team that boasts the next best win streak in Sandringham. The Valley will really be put to the test this week against the likes of Neehara Ravikumar, Rachael Watson and Mikaela Miller as well as Morgan Riley, Meg Ragauskas and Cass Hill. The Eagles have some talent of their own however, with Mikayla Peterson being in some fine form this season, while Ivana Vasiljevic put on a big display last weekend; look for her to continue that.

Ringwood face Melbourne on the backup on Sunday; another enticing match-up depending on which Tigers outfit turn up. They’ve been somewhat inconsistent over the past month and will be hoping for an improved performance Sunday.

Ballarat face a very winnable double header, and it’s a crucial weekend for some of the lower end teams with wins coming at a premium at the moment. With the season so condensed, the relegation battle will quickly heat up which includes the Rush’s two opponents this weekend in Bulleen and Hume City. With a combined five wins to their names, these three teams will be looking to make the most of their match-ups this weekend in order to secure a place in 2019. The Boomers also tackle Knox in a match-up that was so highly regarded just three years ago. These two associations battled it out in back-to-back grand final series, however as we know Youth League competition sees a host of turnover with both teams currently outside of finals places.

In similar circumstances, Warrandyte host Waverley where both sides are currently on just the two victories apiece. The two team’s defences have been leaking points so far this season and it will take one team to lock in on that end in order to secure their third W of the season. It has also been somewhat of a struggle on offence for the Venom, reaching to 55pts+ mark just once in their last five outings. They’ll need more than that to take the points off the Falcons here.

Nunawading face both Hume City and Bendigo as the Spectres look to make it five wins in a row. In what is currently a hotly contested Terrill Conference, the Spectres are making the most of their opportunities and just doing what is required as of late making sure that the win column continues to tick over. Without any specific player blowing teams out of the water, Nunawading have gone about creating some great depth out there led by the names of Slater, Feller, Boyd, Bateman and Frawley.

Finally, Dandenong travel to Altona in order to take on the Gators – a task that has proven far too much for all but one team so far this season (Bendigo R1). The Rangers came alive last week to virtually keep their season alive and if they are to defeat the Gators in Round Nine, it’s certainly time to jump on the green army because they’ll be destined to make a run at it sometime or another!

Hawthorn vs. Bendigo                                    Sat 5:30pm                              Boroondara Sports Complex

Bulleen vs. Ballarat                                         Sat 6pm                                   East Doncaster Secondary College

Hume City vs. Nunawading                            Sat 7pm                                   Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Diamond Valley vs. Ringwood                        Sat 7:30pm                              DV Sports & Fitness Centre

Knox vs. Bulleen                                             Sun 12pm                                State Basketball Centre

Ballarat vs. Hume City                                     Sun 12pm                                MARS Minerdome

Bendigo vs. Nunawading                                Sun 12pm                                Bendigo Stadium

Ringwood vs. Melbourne                                Sun 12pm                                The Rings

Warrandyte vs. Waverley                               Sun 12pm                                Warrandyte Sports Complex

Sandringham vs. Diamond Valley                   Sun 12:30pm                           Nunn Media Sports Centre

Altona vs. Dandenong                                     Sun 1pm                                  Altona Sports Centre

Youth League One Men

Week nine and there’s a nine-game weekend for it all to work in with nines. Maybe nine is the flavour of the weekend? Waverley gunning for their ninth win of their season; Bendigo and even Ballarat looking to avoid their ninth losses for the season? The biggest ‘nine’ for the weekend however, will be nine-ty; score 90+ and you’re in with a big chance of winning your weekend’s games.

Corio Bay will be looking to keep pace with the top tier of teams when they host Coburg to kick us off. Jordan O’Leary returned to some form with a big outing last week. The Giants will be looking to improve on their winning percentage for the season which is, you guessed it, 9%. The Giants back up with a home contest against the red hot Supercats. Geelong have won five on the trot and are in no mood to slow down. They have been well spoken about each week and they’ve duly saluted with a return to form. The Giants will need everything from Jarryd Reid and Daniel Butera if they are to pose a threat.

Waverley will again fancy their chances against their opponents this weekend in Ballarat (H) and Casey (A). Sitting pretty at 8-1, the Falcons are undefeated on their own home deck and have an extremely strong percentage to boot. Their depth has been the key over the past few weeks and expect that to be on show again this week. For the Miners and Cavs, their inconsistencies have cost them dearly as of late, and a scalp such as the Falcons would be the exact starting point to kick off a mid-season surge.

Werribee face the Bendigo/Ballarat double and after six straight wins to kick off their campaign, were really bugged down after four straight losses. The Devils may just be re-finding their feet with the victory last week and would like to be winning these sorts of games to keep up with the likes of the Jets and Falcons. Keep your eyes on Jake Karcoushkas and Josh Zamperoni who will step up.

Bendigo have Hume City on the backup in what is a crunch time game towards the bottom end of the table. With the relegation battle certainly to come into play towards the final month of the season, matches like this become so important to bank wins early. The Broncos are also yet to win on the roads it certainly bodes well for the currently struggling Braves.

Warrandyte have the task of tackling both Sunbury and then Camberwell over the course of the weekend. They’ll know how hard the task that the Jets propose, however it’s also the Dragons on the backup which will surprise you if not taken with care. Shaun Atkins, Tom Moncrieff and Mitch Pollard have all caused opponents headaches on their day, and it’s not like Kyle Collins and Nathan Marshall will make it any easier on Saturday night! The Venom will need every little bit out of their role players such as Liam Davidson and Jack Cousens.

Corio Bay vs. Coburg                                       Sat 6pm                                   Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Waverley vs. Ballarat                                      Sat 6:30pm                              Waverley Basketball Centre

Werribee vs. Bendigo                                     Sat 7pm                                   Eagle Stadium

Sunbury vs. Warrandyte                                 Sat 7pm                                   Boardman Stadium

Coburg vs. Geelong                                        Sun 1pm                                  Coburg Basketball Stadium

Bendigo vs. Hume City                                    Sun 2pm                                  Bendigo Stadium

Ballarat vs. Werribee                                      Sun 2pm                                  MARS Minerdome

Warrandyte vs. Camberwell                           Sun 2pm                                  Warrandyte Sports Complex

Casey vs. Waverley                                         Sun 2pm                                  Casey Stadium

Youth League One Women

With Keilor and Craigieburn getting to recoup and recover this round, it opens the door for Sunbury to take top spot, and if they get both they will be 2 wins ahead.

The Gulls return to the nest this week after a not so great loss last round against the undefeated Jets, this weeks game isn’t going to be any easier as they get set to take on the Supercats, who are sitting comfortably in the top 4 and don’t look like they are going to be moving anytime soon. Geelong went down to number 2 seed Keilor last round to stop their winning streak but they didn’t give up and that’s what Geelong are well known for, their never give up mentality. The Gulls are going to have a big task ahead of them if they want to stop Carly Sanders, Amy Troy and Jamiee Crombie who have been having stand out season this year offensive and defensively. Chelsea need to keep their heads up, run their plays and just get though it, because Geelong will not show any mercy especially now we are in the second half of the season and every single point counts.

With the return of star Cheslea Bransden down from SCW the Cougars have some new found life to the team, which was definitely needed especially this week since Emma Crees will be sidelined for the near future due to injury and they are taking on the undefeated front runner for the title. McKinnon have been going from strength to strength as of late, they are really starting to gel as a team which they are going to need if they plan on stopping the Jets in there tracks. Sunbury have the chance to go 10-0 by the end of the weekend and finally get that elusive top spot on the ladder finally, but I think McKinnon have a real shot at stopping them here.

Kicking off Sunday the Jets return home to the Hanger to refuel before opening the doors to the Dragons, being the only team on a double this week they have a double chance of losing that impressive streak but that also means they can extend it out to 10 straight wins. This will be the 3rd and final time these two teams will meet in the regular season, Sunbury are leading the head to head 2-0 with convincing 20+ point wins but the Dragons are coming off two strong 30+ point wins over the past 2 weeks, so their confidence will be pumping, if they can put their last two match ups behind them and believe they can do it, it just might happen.

The Stingrays head back to school this week as they make their way out to Eltham High School to take down the Wildcats, who have had a rough start to the season with only 1 win to their name. Corio Bay managed to get themselves back to the winner table last week after 5 straight losses. I can guarantee they will be wanting to make sure they stay there again this week, and if they intend on making a run to get into the top 4 for finals every win from here on out is crucial. The Wildcats wont give up and if they want to make sure they don’t finish bottom and get relegated they need to start getting those wins on the board.

Chelsea vs. Geelong                                        Sat 4pm                                   Patterson River Stadium

McKinnon vs. Sunbury                                    Sat 6pm                                   GESAC

Sunbury vs. Camberwell                                 Sun 12pm                                Boardman Stadium

Eltham vs. Corio Bay                                       Sun 1:30pm                             Eltham High School

Youth League Two Men

One team going leaps and bounds at the moment is the Blues. They have notched up their 3rd straight win and have taken on some good sides to get there. We have no doubt that they will be making this 4 when they meet with the Gulls on Saturday night. This Gulls side has a strong side and have proved to be just that in previous years. But so far this season they have struggled with consistency. We know they are a team that can get wins over those in the vicinity of their ladder position but when they come up against some of the higher end teams, they can’t the job done. The problem for them this weekend is that the Blues are one of those higher end teams.

This next clash, the Eagles against the All Stars, is going to be a great match up. The Eagles are sitting in 2nd, the All Stars are sitting 5th, but both sides have only lost the one game in their past 5 matches. For one of them, this record will change but for the other, they will continue to grow. Both sides have the scorers, both sides have great coaches, we can see this game going right down to the wire and we look forward to seeing how this one pans out.

Before the above game can get underway, the Eagles must first get past the Pacers. And we don’t see this being an issue whatsoever. They have already played once before and on that occasion the Eagles took home a 33 point win, a margin we don’t see the Pacers making up. If we were the Pacers, we would be focusing our attention on their Sunday afternoon clash.

The reason we say this is because the Pacers will be taking on the Panthers, the team that sits just one spot below them on the ladder. This is a much more attainable win for the Pacers. This Panthers side have racked up 7 straight losses but you will notice that most of these were against the top placed sides. This game will be the first “close” opponent the Panthers have come up against and if a win is to come from somewhere, it may just come from here.

Coming off a double loss weekend, there is nothing more you want to do another than get a win the following week. But the Steelers have a tough ask ahead of them, needing to get the job done over the Pakenham Warriors. This side was on a roll before they headed into round 8 but they came out of that weekend splitting their games. But in their defence, the opponent they lost to was a quality one. The Steelers do have the ability to win but we’re not sure they can do it this weekend.

The Maccabi Warriors are on a slow downward spiral, having won just the one game in their past 5 matches. They have a chance to make this two when they come up against the Breakers on the Saturday night. If history is anything to go by, this game could go either way. These two played back in round 2, and the Breakers just got over the line by a point. With this being said, the Warriors will want to redeem themselves and make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. They are more than capable of the win, but as they have proven before, so too are the Breakers.

The Breakers will be backing up on the Sunday, meeting with close town rivals the Gulls. This will be both teams second game for the weekend so this will play a part in how this result pans out. Having not played each other yet, it is hard to grasp just how they will go against each other. But if you go on ladder position, you can only gather that they are on par with each other. Depending on how results go on Saturday night, this may be one teams first or second win for the weekend.

Another team that has taken a bit of a hit when it comes to the ladder is the Cougars. They started off well and led the way at one point but found themselves in down patch soon after. They have gotten themselves back to stringing some wins together and it looks like their streak will raise the three when they take on the Panthers. This will be a tough first up game for the Panthers but hopefully the Sunday will be where their win comes from.

We really don’t know what to say about this next game other than it is going to be as one sided as you can get. When 13th comes up against 1st, you immediately ask yourself, wonder what the margin will be? The other point to note about this game is that neither team has a game the night before, so both teams are going to be fresh come Sunday afternoon.

Pakenham vs. Western Port                                            Sat 5pm                                    Cardinia Life

Keysborough vs. Wallan                                                 Sat 6pm                                    Rowville Secondary College

Mornington vs. Maccabi                                                 Sat 6.30pm                               Mornington Basketball Stadium

Whittlesea vs. Craigieburn                                              Sat 7.30pm                               Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Frankston vs. Chelsea                                                    Sat 8pm                                    Frankston Basketball Stadium

Craigieburn vs. Collingwood                                           Sun 12pm                                 Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Wallan vs. Whittlesea                                                    Sun 12pm                                 RB Robson Stadium

Latrobe vs. Melton                                                        Sun 1pm                                   Latrobe Leisure Moe Newborough

Chelsea vs. Mornington                                                 Sun 1pm                                   Patterson River Stadium

Youth League Two Women

A five game slate to highlight the half way point of season 2018 and boy has this one seemed to fly past our eyes – half way already!! This competition is showing much promise of being a tight finish with only a few games separating the top 6 sides. With only one more half of basketball left to play, who will be rounding out our top 5 sides?

What better way to kick off this milestone other than talk about our 8 and zip YL2W leaders the Casey Cavs. There is no doubt that this side will be in the very thick of it come August but can they keep a hold of their undefeated record? The team that has been given the task at attempting to rain on their parade this weekend is the Pacers. These two have met once before already, back in round 1. A lot of basketball has been played between now and then but the Pacers have some work ahead of them if they are to make up that 22 point deficit.

One team hot on the heels of the Cavs is the Warriors. And since their first meeting where only 2 points separated them, the Warriors have gone on a four game winning streak. This weekend sees them take on the 4th placed Vikings and although you would assume that their closeness in placings would mean that a tight game is upon us, think again. The Warriors have the scorers and consistent ones at that. You can count on them to add the distance needed for the win.

The 3rd placed Sharks take on the 5th placed Blues and with just half the season remaining, the Blues will be wanting to assert themselves as a top 5 side. This means winning games like this become all the more important. Unlike the game above, the Blues are more than capable of getting the job done. Their last meeting wasn’t all that long ago and only single digits separated them. But what they need to be able to do in this match is get more contributors on the board. This is something the Sharks do well, so match them and you’re giving yourselves a red hot chance

Our next two sides have been on the waiting list for a win having only just got the one over their past 5 games. But with the Steelers and Devils sitting right next to each on the ladder, this is one game that could go either way. One big point to note also, is that these two sides will be meeting each other for the first time. They don’t know how the other plays which is always a disadvantage when fighting for a W.

Sometimes the fixture has a way of bringing two teams together at a very poignant part of the season. This weekend when the Suns and the Breakers meet, one will finally feel the elation of winning. Unfortunately for the other, they will remain waiting until their next chance at a win comes their way.

Western Port vs. Werribee                             Sat 5:30pm                              David Collings Indoor Stadium

Frankston vs. Southern Peninsula                  Sat 6pm                                   Frankston Basketball Stadium

Casey vs. Whittlesea                                      Sat 6pm                                   Casey Stadium

Sherbrooke vs. Mornington                            Sun 12pm                                Belgrave Heights Christian School

Blackburn vs. Pakenham                                 Sun 1pm                                  Knox Basketball Stadium

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