Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca Pirate in top job

Echuca Basketball Association has appointed senior Pirates player Anthony Matthews as junior coach and stadium manager.

LUKE MCMANUS July 17, 2014 3:22am

Anthony Matthews.

Echuca Basketball Association has turned to one of its own to help lead the club’s junior and senior development.

Senior basketballer Anthony Matthews, 38, took over the helm as junior coach and stadium manager following the shock resignation of first-year appointee Chris Klyne in March.

Klyne returned to Geelong after coaching the men’s Pirates to seventh place on the Country Basketball League north-west conference ladder.

Klyne faced a lean 2013-14 season from the outset after the Pirates spent the previous 12 months in recess due to a lack of numbers and commitment needed to compete at CBL level.

It has been a low-key succession but one which should help pave the way for a humble Matthews to make a sizeable mark on Echuca basketball’s hopeful rise to prominence.

‘‘I’m really enjoying it,’’ Matthews said.

‘‘I’ve been involved in basketball forever as both player and coach so when the job opened up early this year I jumped at it.

‘‘I really want to keep playing but it’s a juggling act and difficult to do so we’ll see what happens.’’

Much in the same vein as Klyne, Matthews’ plans centre around the development of the association’s talented youth which will be thrown into the mix and exposed to senior basketball more than previous seasons.

Matthews said opportunities would be there for juniors to thrive within the CBL system.

‘‘As of last season, some of the older fellas have had enough and are stepping aside,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a pretty exciting time.

‘‘We’ve got some really good juniors coming through.

‘‘Some of those kids are finishing up at under 18s level and have nothing to move on to and the CBL provides a great environment to develop juniors.

‘‘That’s where I see Echuca basketball heading in the next couple of years. We need to ready these young guys to play against men.

‘‘I’m not expecting us to set the world on fire. Our aim in the next couple of years is to be competitive with the outlook of shaking things up.’’

A self-confessed basketball tragic, Matthews’ talents have been seen in both Deniliquin and Echuca since making the move from Melbourne in 1994.

Keen to develop his basketball further, Matthews played for the Pirates before hanging up the sneakers for a while to raise a family and ‘‘get on with life’’.

Matthews returned to the court with Deniliquin’s flagging CBL team, the Giants, which folded after a winless 2012-13.

The tall-timber was a handy acquisition after returning to the Pirates the following year, playing 14 matches and holding a six-point average.

Pending the workload, Matthews said his playing career would continue and also confirmed the EBA was on the lookout for a senior men’s coach ahead of the 2014-15 season which kicks off in October.

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