Big V Round 1 is so close to tipping off and we couldn't resist previewing each of our Games of the Week. We have previewed six Senior and six Youth League games for your reading pleasure. Check it out below:
Melbourne University vs Wyndham
What better way for Melbourne University to see what Big V Championship basketball is all about than by taking on the reigning champions, Wyndham. Wyndham have almost all of their championship roster returning for the 2023 season so the Black Angels will need to find an answer to control the three-headed monster in Maurice Howard, Kavione Greene and Manel Ayol. For Melbourne University, expect the 2022 Division One Men MVP Joel Rimes to lead from the front, ably supported by veterans Nic Masuna and Xavier Evans. Keep an eye out for star recruit Shayan Mahboobi returning to the league with the Black Angels. This is sure to be a cracker!
Bulleen vs Sherbrooke
Both of these teams are runners-up from their 2022 campaign, with Bulleen falling short against Wyndham in Championship Division, whilst Sherbrooke fell short against Warrnambool in Division One. Sherbrooke will be excited for this challenging first match-up, with star player Alicia Carline and new recruits Stephanie Pal and Tanarly Hood ready to make a difference. Bulleen would be expecting similar results in the 2023 season, led by star player Olivia Bontempelli whilst she will be well supported by a number of young recruits that coach Rogers has brought in. Head down to East Doncaster Secondary College to catch this blockbuster!
Division One Men
Warrnambool vs Shepparton
A classic country battle has Warrnambool hosting Shepparton in Round 1. Shepparton are coming off a Grand Final loss in 2022 and have geared up ready to go again in 2023. Whilst they have some big outs in Michel, Evans and Wilkie, expect a big season from veterans Bartlett and Andronicos to steer the Gators back to the playoff race. Warrnambool have retooled for 2023 as well, expect Alex Gynes to have more of a presence on court whilst we have become familiar with what to expect from Tim Gainey and Ollie Bidmade. Will the length of the Warrnambool roster be too much for Shepparton or will the Gators use their experience to overpower the Seahawks? Head down to Warrnambool this weekend to find out.
Division One Women
Bellarine vs Warrnambool
In what is somewhat of a local rivalry, we have the Warrnambool Mermaids hosting the Bellarine Storm. Whilst these two teams were at opposite ends of the ladder last season, we expect the huge addition of Georgia Varley to have a huge impact on Bellarine’s season. Meanwhile, Warrnambool are continuing to blood more young talent to mix well with their experienced line-up. Youngsters such as Mia Mills and Matilda Sewell will be coming into this game in good form after a strong display at the recent Junior Country Championships. Head down to Warrnambool to catch a glimpse of this exciting battle.
Division Two Men
Maccabi vs Mornington
This Sunday heads down to Bialik College to see the Maccabi Warriors start their Big V 2023 campaign as they welcome the Mornington Breakers. Benji Tamir and Adam Klas will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing year as a team and lead their boys to a first-up victory. Meanwhile, Mornington will be playing in their second game of the weekend after hosting Mildura the night before. How will stars McQueen, Murfett and Kelly go on the back end of a double-header weekend? Get to Bialik College to find out!
Division Two Women
Mornington vs Collingwood
The battle of two new-look sides are going to face off this weekend when the reigning Division Two Champions host the Collingwood All-Stars. Whilst on paper this resembles last year's champions against the bottom-placed side, these two teams are vastly different from their 2022 rosters. Mornington have lost a significant amount of experience but have added forward Jayde Popovski who is bound to have a strong influence in this competition, bringing her experience from Diamond Valley. Whilst Collingwood have brought in experienced coach Grantley Bernard who will be making some drastic changes to the Collingwood play style. Expect this one to go down to the wire.
Victorian Youth Championship Men
Casey vs Frankston
Round 1 we see the 2022 first place in Watson Casey Cavaliers host the 2022 Youth League One Men Champions Frankston Blues battle over at Casey Stadium. Casey has come off a top-of-the-table season falling short in the first week of the finals looking for redemption in 2023. Frankston on the other hand earned themselves a deserving position in VYCM after a 3-game Grand Finals series intending to make their mark early. Keep an eye on the very dominant PG matchup of Tony Marchese of Casey against Ben Perry of Frankston.
Victorian Youth Championship Women
Bendigo vs Keilor
The 2022 third-placed Terril Bendigo Braves host the travelling and new to Youth Championship Frankston Blue, 2022 Champions of Youth One Women. Caitlin Richardson and Erin Condron look to return in 2023 more eager than ever after their early finals exit. Look for both Richardson and Condron to try to take this league over. Frankston, with the chemistry and team-first style of play, has earned their spot in VYCW after a swift championship in Youth One Women. Dominant player-maker and scorer Eliana Bravington returns along with Kassie Boorer, both looking to step up even more after the successful Bonnie Deas moves to the COE.
Youth League One Men
Coburg vs Keysborough
Returning to Youth One are the Coburg Giants who host the 2022 Youth Two Men Keysborough Cougars for the game of the week in Youth One Men. Coburg have gone through a big change in the off-season with a very new look in 2023 with Julian Yammouni joining from RMIT and Brodie Baranow from the successful Camberwell Dragons. The Cougars too have come into 2023 with some new faces with some dominant players moving on including top scorer Dylan Moore transitioning into their men’s team. This is an exciting match-up as both teams enter with almost a clean slate.
Youth League One Women
Coburg vs Eltham
The Youth League Two Champions of 2022 Coburg Giants host the 8th seed in Youth One Women for 2022 Eltham Wildcats as Game of the Week for Youth One Women in Round 1. Coburg came off a very successful season finishing second with only 3 losses to then beat the top seed Bellarine in straight sets, earning the promotion to Youth One Women. The Wildcats finished the season under .500 yet with top scorer Jamieson Weddle and Kiara Mountford returning with the majority of the 2022 roster, they look to bounce back strong in 2023. Be prepared for a high-paced game with the outcome looking to go either way.
Youth League Two Men
Surf Coast vs Whittlesea
Surf Coast Chargers own the spotlight in Round 1 as they host the Whittlesea Pacers for their first game in the Youth stream. What is a growing association down the coast, the Chargers are ready to take on Big V with a new presence. Whittlesea on the other hand will not give them an easy round 1. After finishing second in Watson, reaching the preliminary finals to then falling short to Keysborough, the likes of Chayse Pinono and shooter David Barron are eager to get even further in 2023, locking their chances of competing in the grading process commencing in 2024, hoping to move up into Youth One.
Youth League Two Women
Southern Peninsula vs Western Port
Game of the Week for Youth Two Women, we see the Southern Peninsula Sharks take on The Steelers from Western Port. The Sharks and Steelers had some fierce battles in 2022 with the Steelers coming away with both games finishing 8th with the Sharks not far behind at 11th. With a very new division, we hope to see Eryn Rosowski from the Sharks have yet another breakout year. Expect Shanice D’Sylva to have another consistent year as both look to move their team up into the finals race for 2023.