After more than a year of no Big V competition, we now look ahead to the Big V 2021 season tip-off this weekend with more enthusiasm and eagerness than ever before.
A regular Big V off-season is an incredibly long and drawn-out process in itself. Now, let’s add a year of no basketball into the equation. What do you get? Too many player movement and association shake ups to get your head around.
With 142 teams from 49 associations set to unleash their talents in 1463 games this season, there will be no shortage of basketball to make up for the events of 2020.
This Big V 2021 season is set to be a long, hard fought five months for competition glory and the almighty championship titles up for grabs!
So, who has great expectations on their shoulders and who will have to prove themselves? Find out just a few in this Big V 2021 season overview…
Picking Big V winners in the early rounds of a season is always unlikely, especially when it’s been a year since any play.
However, there have been some associations who have made their intentions clear across the course of the past few months.
Looking to keep consistency and secure the title in Championship Men again, McKinnon Cougars have a stacked side going into 2021 with some adjustments from their defending champions lineup.
Standing 7 feet tall, the Cougars have welcomed ex-NBA G-League and ex-NBL big man, Jordan Vandenberg, and the internationally experienced Luke Shelley to the team.
Familiar names including Matt Tolnai, James Malvaso, Nic Laycock, Jack Wilson and Jordan Greer will be back with the Cougars this season too, alongside former Youth League athletes Tom Bartlett and Luke Pernenborg.
Their Championship Women’s lineup looks just as dangerous, especially with the recent signing announcement of Tegan Cunningham, an experienced Power Forward who returns to the Cougars with NBL1 and WNBL playing experience.
She will pair nicely with another McKinnon addition, Morgan Ili, who comes from playing in New Zealand and you may know as the wife of NBL Melbourne United star Shea Ili.
Bulleen signaled their intent when announcing WNBL star Kate Gaze would suit up for the Boomers in Big V 2020. Now, in 2021, they’ve done it again and added Rebecca Cole and Louella Tomlinson in what is looking like a refreshed Big V Championship Women’s squad.
Cole is a starting guard for the reigning WNBL champions the Southside Flyers, a member of the Australian 3×3 National team as well as the Australian Opals and has overcome major injuries to become one of Australia’s top 1 on 1 players. These three will carry a heavy load for an association once loaded with talent and could just be the first pieces of the puzzle to put them back into playoff contention.
There will be an undeniable force coming from Casey Cavaliers’ Championship Men and Women this season with their announced players.
The Women’s side has an almost complete re-invigorated look, so get to know these names!
High volume scorer Rachel Bell makes the move from Whittlesea Pacers to join Taylor Lee and Tess Young, who will return for her fifth year in the Big V program.
Shereesha Richards is expected to make an impact in the team as an import. Some new names to the Cavaliers to watch out for will be Gabrielle Tarabolsi and Alannah Gillespie.
For the Men, Mike McInnes and Matt Donlan will return to the navy blue to welcome new teammates including import AJ Williams, and Keith Robinson and Angus Howey.
The sharpshooting Guard/Forward who hails from New Zealand, Jacinta Beckley, will be back with the Sunbury Jets in 2021. We have a feeling her and Big V Championship Women 2017, 2018 and 2019 All-Star five player and 2018 Finals MVP, Orla O’Reilly, will tear up the court together and be a tough duo to overcome in Championship Women.
The Division One Men’s team for the Camberwell Dragons is shaping up to something to keep an eye on.
Nathaniel O’Hara returns for Dragons after recovering from an achilles injury and will be a fantastic leader for the group. Matthew Zappala and Luke Bett will be out to prove themselves, this season being their first time full-time status in the squad after 2020 delayed their start.
With over 550 Dragons Big V games between them, Mark Jeffers, Michael Osekowski, Pete Maunder and Mark ‘Rudy’ Fernandez will return to the Division One Men’s team, adding a wealth of experience.
Across the way in Division One Women will be the returning Amy Falckh and Georgia Smart. Falckh will enter her fourth season for the Dragons and will add to her 64 games for Camberwell. Smart will be suiting up for her second season with the club as an aggressive low post scorer and tough interior defender.
Big V veterans Vic Sumskas, Marnie Houghton and Andrea Belmonte also sign up with the Dragons for the 2021 season. Whilst they were due to make their debut for us in 2020, Covid had other plans.
Southern Peninsula Sharks
We have two key names for you to add to your Big V contact list in 2021 from the Sharks – Khobie Redgard and Tanarly Hood.
Redgard is an up-and-coming athlete who will contribute to an already solid Southern Peninsula Division One Men’s side. Since a young age, Redgard has played in Queensland for state teams and part of state leagues. Now, he’s having his time in Victoria!
Making the move in the Women’s from LaTrobe Energy to the Sharks is Tanarly Hood! This season will see her move up a division to compete with players in the top level of the Big V competition. She will undoubtedly bring some bite in 2021.
New to the Court
There will be some new team additions to the Big V scene in 2021, demonstrating the constant growth of Australia’s largest senior representative competition.
The Southern Peninsula Sharks’ Division Two Men’s team made an impact in the senior ranks in 2019, taking out the title. While these guys will be looking for success in Championship Women and Division One Men in 2021, all eyes will be on their new youth sides.
Ben White will take the reins of the Sharks’ first ever Youth League Two Men’s team as Head Coach. For the new Youth League Two Women’s team, there is expected to be plenty of spirit with Stuart Dempster signing on as Head Coach.
Another exciting addition to the 2021 competition will be Altona Gators’ Division Two Women’s team. The last time Altona had a senior women’s side they went a whole season with zero wins. There will be a lot of people watching them in their Round 1 hit-out with Mornington to see if they’re ready to lift their game.
Former Bendigo Braves coach, Cameron Wilkosz, will oversee the improvement of this Gators side with some talented players in Jaylen-Rose Hawea and Sharna Appleby expected to guide the team.
Other teams new to the Big V in 2021 will include Bellarine Storm in the Youth League to Men and the Wallan Panthers in Youth League Two Women’s.
Several teams who were meant to make their Big V debut in season 2020 will also finally hit the stage this weekend.
Albury/ Wodonga Bandits will enter the ranks in Youth League Two Men’s and Youth League Two Women’s.
Division Two Women will see the addition of two new teams ready to make waves in the RMIT Redbacks and Corio Bay.