Following the success of the AFL Barwon Inclusion League and AAA netball in the region, with two teams heading for the State Titles in October, Leisure Networks has partnered with Geelong United Basketball (GUB) to launch a local AAA Basketball competition.
“Basketball is huge,” said Luke Maher, Program Coordinator Leisure Networks. “We’ve been watching it just grow and grow in popularity throughout Geelong, so it makes sense that our all abilities players want to get in on it too.”
Basketball is one of the fastest growing participation sports in Australia, with some 1.3 million people playing basketball across the Nation and more than 10,000 participants in Geelong alone.
In the spirit of inclusion that drives Leisure Networks, Luke and the Sport, Recreation and Health team have been working with local clubs to create a competition suitable for players of all abilities.
“We’re starting this season with a senior comp for players aged 15 years and over. Then we’ll see how we go and if we need to expand opportunities for younger players,” explained Luke. “At this stage we have got five of the local clubs on board – Sharks, Bobcats, Try Boys, Lara Giants and Rovers, with Geelong United helping drive the comp. Basketball Victoria have been really positive in their support as well.”
“Geelong United Basketball is thrilled to be hosting the region’s first All-Abilities basketball competition,” GUB CEO Mark Neeld said. “With the promotion of lifelong activity as the mission of GUB, we’re pleased to see the sport of basketball now available to more members of the community.
“We wish Sharks, Try Boys, Lara Giants, Bobcats and Rovers all the best for the inaugural season.”
“We are planning to field 5 teams for our first season,” continued Luke. “Some of the clubs have already got the numbers and then we’ve linked in with the four footy clubs from the AFL Barwon Inclusion League to see if any of the players are looking for a new challenge, or a new sport to keep them active over summer.
“We’ll run eight to ten rounds this season, and see how things go. See how the players enjoy it, what the experience of the clubs is and what the appetite is for more rounds, more teams etc.
“It’s like how we started with the footy,” explained Luke. “We try things, we get feedback, we adapt. Like I said, basketball is huge, so who knows where we’ll end up with this comp. As long as all the players are having fun and getting involved with their community, we’re succeeding in what we set out to do. After that, everything’s a bonus!”
The competition will run Friday nights at 5pm throughout Term 4. Season starts Friday13 October at AWA Stadium, Belmont.
If you want to get involved contact one of the following clubs: