Shepparton Gators won't be holding anything back when they take to court in the opening round of Big V on Sunday.DAMEN FRANCIS March 14, 2014 4:15am
Big V Gators (back) Jack Threlfall, John Woodcock, Tom Crowe, Ian Wright, Nick Dodd, Matt Waight, Dylan Wayman, (front) Bellamey Sims, Shaun Atkins, Shannon Ralph, Matt Bartlett, Tom Frame and Bailey Michel.
Shepparton Gators coach Russell Parker expects a more hostile reception from opposition teams when his side takes to the court in its sophomore season.
The Gators won six of their 18 games and finished ninth on the ladder in their comeback campaign, but gained respect as the season went on and found the going tougher as a result.
‘‘Last year teams underestimated Shepparton at their peril, but now they’ll be taking us more seriously,’’ Parker said.
‘‘We made the finals of the pre-season tournament last week, so we expect teams to be turning up looking to get a good quality game against a quality opponent.’’
The Gators open their campaign against Casey Cavaliers at Shepparton Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Parker will be picking Dylan Wayman’s brain for information about the Cavaliers.
‘‘Dylan used to play for them, so I understand a bit about what they’re likely to run on offence and defence,’’ Parker said.
‘‘They have the same coach and mostly the same players, so we’ll sit down and talk to Dylan at training and find out if there’s anything else we need to know.’’
Wayman, who joined the Gators part-way through the Country Basketball League season, is one of several new faces in this year’s squad, along with CBL captain Matt Bartlett and Shepparton-raised power forward Ian Wright.
Echuca guard Shaun Atkins has also joined the Gators, but at 17 and with the club’s depth at the one and two spots, he is unlikely to be a major part of the rotation initially.
Mainstays Matt Waight, Shannon Ralph, Jack Threlfall and David and John Woodcock form the foundation of the team, while young players Tom Frame, Bailey Michel, Nick Dodd, Tom Crowe and Bellamey Sims round out the squad.
With Ralph still working his way back to full fitness from an ankle injury, Frame is likely to see good minutes at the point, while a shortage of bigs means Dodd looks set to relieve Wright and the Woodcock brothers in the front court.
Wodonga pair Dylan Webb and Beau Sheridan have not returned for a second season, but the door remains open to veteran Seymour guard Robbie Sartori.
Parker tried to coax electric guard Zaine Allen back to the Gators’ set-up, but his current club McKinnon’s promotion to championship division proved too good an opportunity to turn down.
Wright is expected to prove a key acquisition, as he brings much-needed height to the floor.
However, it’s Bartlett who Parker said would be the most significant signing.
‘‘We’re basing our growth and improvement through Matt, which is a lot of pressure on a 25-year-old guard, but he’s such a great leader,’’ he said.
‘‘The expectation and goal we set last weekend is to make finals and even though we have a long-term goal of getting back to championship, that would be a good achievement.
‘‘From a team and club point of view we would love local spectators to come and see what is a truly local team playing at a high level.’’
The Gators will run with a 12-man roster at home games, starting against the Cavaliers on Sunday, but could cut that number for road trips.
Sunday’s game tips off at 2
RACV data shows Mitchell Shire has the highest number of insurance claims lodged in the region for animal-related collisions.
In a day made for football at the sun-bathed Lavington Sports Club Oval the 2015 Yarrawonga Under 16 Pigeons showed their class with a comprehensive victory in the AWJFL Grand Final against Wodonga.
Saturday, August 22 saw the Harston Memorial Hall packed to capacity for the annual Reg Poole Concert.
HEATHER and Brian Parker never meant to spend 10 months cruising to Goolwa and back.
CHILDREN from across the district went crazy over Book Week last week.
Young Bombers pull off last quarter comeback to win under-16 premiership.
The Darley and Swettenham stallion parades attracted large numbers to the showpiece Northwood Rd properties on Sunday.
Berrigan public decides drainage works location
VICTORIA Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating after a three-month-old baby girl died in Heathcote on the weekend.
Cobram Barooga leaders and tourism operators have welcomed the launch of a new tourism strategy focusing on events, which aims to attract more people to the Murray River.
Cancer claims one of its fiercest combatants.
Water allocations were increased in the Goulburn-Murray Water region today.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.