From 26 September to 1 October, six of Western Australia’s best will battle the top teams from the country at the Under 14 National Club Championships. The three Girls teams are represented by the Willetton Tigers, Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Geraldton Buccaneers. The Tigers and Buccs have also qualified their Boys teams who will join the Joondalup Wolves, as all six head to Newcastle and Maitland, NSW. We caught up with the teams to see how their preparations are going in the lead up to the National tournament:
Willetton Tigers Girls (Cougar Classic position – 1st, current WABL position – 2nd (4-2) Head Coach : Robyn Winter
BWA: Firstly well done on qualifying top at the Cougar Classic! Are you happy with the team’s results thus far?
RW: Thank you and yes, preparations for this team really stepped up at the end of the 2015 WABL season in preparation for the qualifying tournament and it was terrific for the team to finish on top, it is a long campaign and we are progressing as hoped.
BWA: At the Cougar Classic you managed to take care of Kalamunda by 2 points, and then went down by 5 points at Ray Owen in Round 3. Is there a little rivalry forming between the two teams?
RW: I think so… it started last season as we copped a bit of a hiding up the hill during the season, our next match up was not until the Grand Final were we were able to turn the tables and take out the Championship. We always expect a tough match up with Kalamunda and are looking forward to the re-match in a couple of weeks.
BWA: How often are the team currently training and playing games/scratch matches?
RW: We are currently training twice a week and in addition to the WABL game on Sundays the team is playing in the Willetton U16 Div 1 domestic competition. This has been really good for the girls to play against bigger, faster and stronger players each week, in our first game one of the girls came off and said ‘this is really hard’ so what we hoped it would provide has eventuated.
BWA: Give your thoughts on the standard of the current WABL competition and do you think it’s heading in the right direction?
RW: We are really looking forward to playing each team twice this season, and feel it is a great concept. Each game so far has provided us with many challenges and opportunities to try different things, to be able to play each time a second time will be a good indicator of how we are all improving. With more divisions available the opportunity for so many more kids to play WABL is pushing all the kids to want to improve and be in a championship division team, in the long run this will definitely improve the standard across all age groups.
BWA: Have you set a goal for the tournament, maybe a particular position or other aspects of the game?
RW: At this early stage we are focusing on a lot of different skill areas and putting together a team game plan then looking at our WABL game for improvements in those areas. As the season progresses the plan for the tournament and our goals for the players and team will naturally come together.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The families are working tirelessly to fundraise for the girls to attend the Championships. We have a GoFundMe page ‘Help our girls get to the Nationals’ (https://www.gofundme.com/22z2ca6k) and there is a quiz night on Saturday 11th June at Willetton Basketball Stadium.