Exciting season for Suns
THE 2011 State Basketball League competitions bounce on to courts across New South Wales this weekend.
Coffs Harbour Suns players and supporters welcome the Hoey Moey as the 2011 naming rights sponsor for the senior teams and will be aiming for a top position finish in the northern division of the league.
The Suns will enter a senior men, senior women and a Youth League men’s team in this year’s competition, with the first home game for the senior Suns in Tamworth this Saturday night.
These games coincide with the first round of the Northern Junior League, so the Suns will have plenty of vocal red-and-gold supporters at the new Tamworth stadium.
Across the season, Coffs Harbour teams have 23 home games and 22 away visits to make, prior to the finals in August.
Thanks to good scheduling, Coffs Suns will have five triple-header weekends at home where fans will get to see the three State league teams on the one night.
The men’s competition will have 15 games played over three rounds as a ‘home-and-away’ competition between Armidale Lions, Ballina Breakers, Coffs Harbour Suns, Grafton Vikings, Port Macquarie Dolphins and Tamworth Thunderbolts.
The women’s competition will be a 12-game series between Ballina Breakers, Coffs Harbour Suns, Bellinger Valley Braves, Newcastle Hunters and Tamworth Thunderbolts.
Youth League men will play an 18-game home-and-away series between Coffs Harbour Suns, Cessnock Cobras, Maitland Mustangs, Central Coast Crusaders, Port Stephens, Central Coast Power
Red, and Central Coast Power Blue.
Coach Matt Shanahan has been pleased with the training regime and pre-season games.
“I expect teams to perform very well after good games in our pre-season against Hawkesbury and at the Yamba carnival,” he said.
“Because these are stand-alone games, I have been able to try dif-
ferent combinations and a variety of game strategies.
“We have an exciting addition in Jeremiah Makavilitogia who has represented New Zealand as a junior, with great natural athleticism.
“Robbie Linton’s return from Canada in April will bring new skills from his college experience.”
Women’s coach Connie Woods reveals a rebuilding phase for the senior program.
“We retained five of our 2010 team and welcome back senior player Ashley Markham,” she said.
“Because of the strength of our under-18 women, four players will move into seniors permanently while others will swing between the two.
“I think this combination of youth and experience will serve us well during the season.
“The opportunity to coach at the senior level is a little daunting but I am looking forward to the challenge and hope my enthusiasm for the program will rub off.
“We can use our youth and experience to create an exciting game that is good to watch.”
State League Men: Andrew Williams (captain), Matt Shanahan, Jake Whittleton, Robbie Linton, Jessie Browning, Craig Hanlon, Jeremiah Makavilitogia, Brodie Calvert, Mitchell Cole, Travis Slater, Ryan Swift, Rex Clutario.
State League Women: Bonnie Kuchel (captain), Nicki Baade, Kate Harland, Ashley Markham, Sammy Cooper, Amy Durbidge, Samantha Bastic, Tiarne Saunders, Siarn Woods, Laura Bamford-McClelland, Jessi Reeves, Bronte Emmanuel, Rochelle Goodhand.
Youth League Men: Nick Hughes (captain), Michael Maurice, Bryce Davis, Jason Johanson-Leete, Jack Murat, Luke McGinniskin, Jordan Finger, Jimmy Robertson, Blake Kelly, Travis Slater, Ethan Thornborough.