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The newly formed Victorian Youth Championships looks set to be one of the most talked about competitions in 2013. With the merging of the Big V Youth League and the SEABL D-League, the strongest of all the state’s Under 23 players will come together to battle it out for bragging rights.
Returning to the head coaching role for the second year is 2010 Big V Championship Women winning coach Grantley Bernard. Zoe Duggan also returns as assistant coach for 2013. The 2012 MVP, Lauren Bellegante, rejoins the team, along with Emily Dorning, Madeleine Boyd and Georgia Varley. 2012 Big V All-Star Five player Ebony Rolph and youngster Grace Parker will play SEABL in the first instance, but will be made available for VYC games where schedules permit.
Perri Jones returns to Basketball Geelong after a few years off playing netball as a new pick up for the VYC team.
Several players from the Geelong Supercats Under 18 team have been training with the squad and will be looking to be named in the side early in 2013.
Moving from one eight team competition to a sixteen team, two conference competition in 2013 will see Geelong come up against some powerhouse teams in the new VYC. Geelong now sits in a conference alongside Bulleen, Frankston, Hume City, Knox, Sandringham, 2012 Big V SYC runners-up Diamond Valley and 2012 SEABL D-League Champions Nunawading.
Head coach Grantley Bernard is pleased with the mix of experience and youth for the 2013 team.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot tougher with the addition of the D-League teams, and we’re certainly not going to be a big team. But right now we’re working on changing our offense to suit our players. We have a few really good experienced players who will step up to more of a leadership role in 2013 and really help out with the Under 18 players that we have coming up – Lauren Bellegante, Emily Dorning and Georgia Varley are probably the three that I expect to step up in that respect,” said Bernard.
DEPARTED PLAYERS – Caidie Swayn (not playing – assistant coach of Under 16 girls rep side), Ebony Tannouri (netball), Emily Koroneos (SEABL), Jess Barnard (not playing), Kara Shuttleworth (not playing),
RETURNING PLAYERS – Lauren Bellegante, Emily Dorning, Madeleine Boyd, Georgia Varley, Ebony Rolph,
NEW PLAYERS – Perri Jones (netball), Grace Parker (SEABL)
TO BE CONFIRMED – Tayla Robertson (pending injury), Kendyl Collins, Alli Marsh, Jessie Christiaans, Morgan Muir, Janae Marks, Tiarna Rolph Mikaela Watson
Luke Beauglehall is back for his third year of coaching Geelong’s youth men’s team, and has retained a core group of players from 2012. Big V All-Star Five player Lewis Varley returns to the team, alongside his brother and 2012 MVP Emerson Varley. Jackson Bentley, Daniel Ferguson, Jack Burnett, Riley Herbert, Joel McFall, Nathan Lemke and Andrew Przybylkiewicz also return to the Supercats youth team for 2013.
Jock Landale joins the VYC after an outstanding year in Under 18’s VJBL in 2012.
Also moving to a two conference, sixteen team competition instead of the twelve team competition in 2012, Geelong has been placed in a conference alongside Bendigo, 2012 Big V SYC Runners Up Diamond Valley, Frankston, Hawthorn, Kilsyth, 2012 SEABL D-League Runners Up Sandringham and Waverley.
Head coach Luke Beauglehall is confident that his team will be able to hold their own in the new structure.
“With what we’re putting together on paper we’ll be a competitive team. We’re really looking forward to the challenge of playing some D-League teams, especially our country rivals in Ballarat and Bendigo. The new structure that allows all VYC players to be eligible to be promoted to SEABL gives the players a much better opportunity and gives everyone a chance to step up, and puts a bit of pressure on the SEABL guys as well,” said Beauglehall.
DEPARTED PLAYERS – Marcus Larcombe (Moved to Colac), Matthew Vale (football), Michael Rebula (Corio Bay Big V), Rhys Lloyd (injury), Zachary Moore (Under 20’s rep)
RETURNING PLAYERS – Andrew Przybylkiewicz, Daniel Ferguson, Emerson Varley, Lewis Varley, Jack Burnett, Riley Herbert, Jackson Bentley, Joel McFall, Nathan Lemke
NEW PLAYERS – Jock Landale (Under 18’s rep)
TO BE CONFIRMED – Nathan Freind (Pending SEABL selection), Mitchell Herbert (pending injury), Matt McCormack (pending football pre-season), Andrew Tonkin (pending injury)