For the Kilsyth Cobras, this 2021 Big V season is all about ‘respecting the position and the opportunity’ to play.
Cobras unveiled their youth men’s line-up last week, giving a glimpse into the action we may see from these red and black assassins in Victorian Youth Championship (VYC) this year.
All 11 of Cobras rostered players are returnees from last year’s team, after the 2020 Big V season was cancelled as a result of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.
Brad Heywood, Roberto La Morticella, Hamish MacDonald and Tony Marchese have weighted experience in the Big V competition, having been on Kilsyth’s 2017 VYC Men’s championship-winning team. They now get the chance to be leaders of the Cobra pack alongside Nick Feller who has been a strong contributor to the program over past Big V seasons.
Recently selected Australian Under-19 Emus athlete and Victorian representative, Josh Duach, will also pull on the Cobras jersey this season. He and MacDonald will both head to the states to attend college later in the year, but will no doubt make an impression on the VYC Men’s competition before setting off for the United States.
Duach, Eythan House and Tom Ghosn are all first year Cobras who are expected to elevate the pressure in the team’s backcourt. Ben Bara and Dyson Sumsion will give quality perimeter shooting and poise on the wing, while Lachie Vandervorm is another versatile athlete who will find a home in the frontcourt.
Their two Development Players, Thomas Carruthers and Liam Croney, have recently come through Kilsyth’s Under-18’s program, which is expected to add continuity to an already in sync team.
Appointed Head Coach for Cobras YC Men’s, Zack Moult, will step into the role for the first time this season after an extensive history with Kilsyth’s program as a coach and player.
A coach since 2014 and previous junior Cobra himself, Moult said the anticipation for this Big V season has been heightened by all the at home training and commitment to get back to physical games.
“Our guys did an incredible job of staying engaged throughout 2020,” Moult said.
“For months they showed up for weekly meetings online and organised individual and small group workouts wherever they could find a hoop,
“It’s been great to see them back on the floor in an organised, indoor environment; they’re very deserving of the opportunity in front of them.”
A club with a long and proud history in Big V, Moult expects his team to strive towards the same success previous teams and players at Kilsyth have experienced in the past.
“We’re not an overly big team,”Moult said. “But we have a number of long, versatile athletes who can play multiple positions, which opens up what we can do both offensively and defensively,
“At this time of year, we really want everyone to be a playmaker to an extent and be confident in what they can do.
“Our club has a very proud history in the VYC Men’s competition; we were league champions in 2013, 2015 and 2017, and during that time produced a number of NBL1 and collegiate players, and even some NBL players such as Kyle Adnam,
“Our goal is to add a 2021 title to that list – that’s what we are working towards.”
Alongside Moult this season will be Al McAughtry and Adam Knott as assistant coaches.
“Personally, I’m incredibly fortunate to have two outstanding assistant coaches this year in Al McAughtry and Adam Knott,” Moult said.
“Al has a number of years of experience coaching state teams and assisting on national junior teams, and Adam is a terrific technical coach who came through the Cobras VYC and SEABL programs as a player.
“We spend time every practice on individual development, run individual meetings, and we’ve conducted physical testing with the players to chart where they are at from an athletic standpoint,
“We want to be successful as a group this year, but as coaches we want to see our players progressing either into our NBL1 program, to college or the Basketball Australia Center of Excellence; so that individual development will remain an important part of what we do this year.”
While the manifestation of a 2021 title is clearly on Moult’s agenda, it’s not the only objective he has as coach this season. He believes his team has a few things to take value in while they can play once again.
“We have over 600 junior domestic teams over 6000 junior domestic players within our association, and every player on this year’s team has progressed through that domestic competition and our Junior Cobras program to get to where they are,
“That understanding of who you are representing, and the fact that you were once that young kid looking up to the team you are currently on – that’s something not to be underestimated.
“My main thing to pass onto these boys is don’t take it for granted and to set a great example for the next group of players coming through because, honestly, it’s a pretty cool opportunity.”