Big V 2015: Which Div. 1 sides could move into State Championship next season?
While debate rages about whether Sherbrooke Suns women should be playing at the State Championship level in 2016 and beyond, it is time to take a look at which sides could be going the other way and making the jump up from Division One.
It should be noted that one of the potential sides, the Geelong Supercats, have a SEABL team and are therefore ineligible to make the jump into the premier division of Big V basketball as well.
The Cavs have dominated the competition since the early stages of the season, winning 13-straight games to boast the best record in the league. There are a number of reasons they can make the jump next season, both on and off the court.
The Casey area is one of Victoria’s growing communities, and with brand new facilities and plenty of funding, the Cavaliers should be able to foot the bill of a State Championship side quite comfortably.
On the court, the Cavs have the talent to compete in the top flight, and could add a couple more pieces as well. The likes of Brent Hobba, a former NBL and SEABL veteran, and former SEABL import Lester Strong lead the way and would remain bona-fide stars at State Championship level.
Making the jump to the next level isn’t about whether a side would compete with the best but whether they would be competitive against most of the league, and the Cavs would comfortably satisfy the latter if they were to play State Championship in 2016.
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Chelsea started this season on fire, winning seven-straight, before dropping eight of the next ten. Nonetheless, the Gulls have State Championship potential.
The main reason is simply Corey Standerfer, who is a former State Championship import with Bulleen. Standerfer tore up the league when he was with the Boomers and has continued to do so in Division One, for what is rumoured to be a significantly larger sum of money.
That money is another reason why the Gulls could compete in the top flight, with the club financially stable and likely able to bring a second star, whether that be an import or local talent, on board to complement Standerfer.
Their form in Division is a worry and probably leaves question marks over whether they would be competitors or bottom feeders in State Championship, but nonetheless the Gulls wouldn’t look too far out of place if they were to make the jump up.
Camberwell is the interesting one, with the quiet achievers boasting a solid record this season and the club continuing to build in all departments, from juniors up.
The Dragons have had the likes of Kevin and Chris Anstey involved with the team in recent seasons, and they could, you would imagine, help with the signings of some talented players. On top of that, the Dragons play hard-nosed defence and would stay in games based on that alone.
Financially, as mentioned, the club has improved significantly in recent years and is continuing to improve, and with rumours swirling that the Lady Dragons could be making the jump to State Championship ahead of 2016, it would make sense for their men to follow suit, even if they haven’t been as dominant in Division One as their female counterparts.
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Shepparton have ridden a 12-game win streak to go step-for-step with Casey, but outside of John Lewis and Matt Bartlett, their roster probably isn’t up to competing with the big boys. Their off-court situation is unclear, but they would need to significantly improve the depth of their roster if they were to play at State Championship level.
Warrandyte are in a similar boat, with Martino Brock so heavily relied on each week by the Venom right now. Around him, their undersized and inconsistent roster wouldn’t stack up in the top flight. With their women’s side in State Championship, one would imagine the Venom would be financially able to support a men’s team in the same division, but again, their roster would need a lot of work.
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Like the men, Geelong’s women also play SEABL and are automatically unable to compete in State Championship.
The all-conquering Pacers have been the best side in Division One this season and would be favourites to move up to the State Championship division in 2016.
On court, they have only lost to Geelong (twice) this season, and have beaten every other side in relatively convincing fashion. The Pacers don’t rely on a star to carry them, which follows the Southern Peninsula blueprint from last season and bodes well for their chances of being competitive in the top flight.
Away from the court, the Pacers are a strong club representing a large area, and with a men’s team already playing at State Championship level, it would make sense for the women to join them.
With a number of clubs struggling at the highest level, particularly Sherbrooke, the Pacers certainly wouldn’t be the worst side if they were to play State Championship next season and have the potential to upset a few of the finals contenders along the way.
Camberwell, like Whittlesea, have been strong in Division One this season, and with their club growing off the court, could be about to move on up.
As mentioned, the Dragons are a growing club and are continuing to improve as time passes by. They have the stability to support a State Championship team next season, and should be able to put together a competitive roster.
In saying that, their side right now wouldn’t be that far off the mark either. While the Division One women’s league isn’t as deep and strong as some of the other competitions, the Dragons have still been impressive and, again, wouldn’t be the worst team in the State Championship as it stands now.
A couple of signings would be needed ahead of the 2016 season, but with a little bit of improvement the Dragons could easily become a mid-table State Championship side.
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Mildura and Latrobe City are the other two sides likely to make finals in Division One this season, but with neither having a State Championship men’s and neither setting the competition alight this season, it is hard to see either of them making the jump up to the top flight.
To find your local club’s fixtures and results, and to keep up to date with all the league news and information over the season, head to www.bigv.com.au or click here.