Bayside Bobcats look set to be an electric force within the Men’s Premier competition. Bobcats are an amalgamation of the two Bayside teams from last year: Blue Jays (who finished 3rd) and Braves (who finished 4th).
Returning players include Open Men’s defender Will Jamison, Open Mixed gun Andrew Lewis, Men’s Reserve shooter Joshua Clavarino, U23s shooter Brayden Pastore, and U20s midcourter Daniel Rooney. Combined with experienced campaigners, Jamie Maher and Tim Marshall (former Open Mixed) along with sharp attacker Mitchell Small, Bobcats have also added two new experienced players: former Australian and Victorian Open Mixed player Lachlan Crowe and current Men’s Opens shooter Brodie Roberts.
With experience and youth across all thirds, Bobcats are serious contenders for the Men’s Premier title that alluded both Braves and Blue Jays last year.
Player Roster: Joshua Clavarino, Lachlan Crowe, Will Jamison, Andrew Lewis, Jamie Maher, Tim Marshall, Brayden Pastore, Brodie Roberts, Daniel Rooney & Mitchell Small
After creating Western Thunder in 2011, Gerard Murphy and Matt Blomeley return to lead an exciting side. After finishing fifth and narrowly missing finals last year, the boys are looking to regain the glory of previous years that included back-to-back premierships.
With the inclusion of Victorian U17s young gun Quinn Spencer and exciting Australian U20s speedster Ben McAllister to the line up, they are ensuring they have youth for years to come. The return of Cameron Allum & Josh Smith in goals should be a tough combination to beat after gaining much experience across the Victorian U23 campaign.
Down the defensive end, Allan Bateman & Open Men’s Alastair Punshon look set to revive their 2016 Thunder combo (and 2015 U23s combo) in circle defence, aided by ever reliable former NSW junior Ben Lalic, who will also cover the midcourt. Add to this Josh Burns who goes from strength to strength in the middle and versatile strong bodied Jake Noonan, this side will be cementing some solid combinations for more years to come.
Player Roster: Cameron Allum, Allan Bateman, Matthew Blomeley, Joshua Burns, Ben Lalic, Ben McAllister, Gerard Murphy, Alastair Punshon, Joshua Smith & Quinn Spencer
Melbourne City Blackhawks
Defending champions, Melbourne City Blackhawks, formed last year after breaking away from 2015’s Western Ice. They rounded out the 2016 season premiers after a thrilling final against Southern Seahawks.
Blackhawks have retained both their Vic Men’s Open shooters in Daniel Cooke (also a former Australian Men’s shooter) and Corey Jackson. Due to Jackson’s points increase Andrew Simons has been released (and immediately picked up by Northern Lightning – see below) while Cooke is looking to return from injury and finding the form that led to his inclusion in the National team. Returning too are the dynamic duo that is the Nexhip brothers (Corey & Dylan – Open Mixed).
Blackhawks also have youth covered in U20s players Joel Gosbell, Jake Novak and new addition Anthony Maniapoto. Rounding out the roster are: silky smooth shooter Lachlan Deane (Open Mixed), the ever agile Matthew Doyle (Men’s Reserves), promising defender Simon Cartwright (Men’s Reserves 2) and they will be anchored by the incredibly experienced Jarrad Walker (former player/current coach of Open Mixed). No doubt come December, Blackhawks will be hoping to become back-to-back premiers.
Player Roster: Simon Cartwright, Daniel Cooke, Lachlan Deane, Matt Doyle, Joel Gosbell, Corey Jackson, Anthony Maniapoto, Corey Nexhip, Dylan Nexhip, Jake Novak & Jarrad Walker
Northern Lightning – Premier Men’s
Northern Lightning are a new and exciting team to hit the Premier Men’s Division, with a mix of experience and youthful talent.
Down their defensive end Rein Kivivali (Men’s Reserves), Michael Petrowski (Men’s Reserves) and Luke Rawlings (U23s) will combine to form a strong defensive unit with their mix of experience and athleticism.
Lightnings midcourt is where things get particularly exciting as Open Men’s players Ely Harrison and Andrew Simons coupled with Men’s Reserve’s Chris Cameron will be incredibly hard to stop, especially when paired with some youthful exuberance in Adam Franz (U23s). A slick midcourt, they no doubt plan to gain ball and capitalise on their opponent’s mistakes.
Lightnings attack end has a solid target in Chris O’Sullivan (Men’s Reserve – who has the versatility to play GK when needed) who will be supported by Luke Edgecombe, a slick GA and long bomb specialist. Edgecombe’s netball smarts are going to be great for the development of two young juniors coming through VMNL; U20s Dale Mason and Kai Suzuki-McGauran are two emerging shooters who have shown great improvement and development in their games.
With a great balance and versatility all over the court, Northern Lightning will be looking to make it’s mark on an already phenomenally competitive Men’s Premier division.
Player Roster: Chris Cameron (Captain), Luke Edgecombe, Adam Franz, Ely Harrison, Rein Kivivali, Dale Mason, Chris O’Sullivan, Michael Petrowski, Luke Marko Rawlings, Andrew Simons & Kai Suzuki-McGuaran
Southern Seahawks have been a fixture within the Men’s Premier division. Finishing runner up to Blackhawks last season, they have retained their core playing group and have added a new player in each third to give them some additional options.
Led by experienced campaigners Clint Allwood (Men’s Reserves) and Adam Boldiston (Men’s Reserves) – also both former Vic Open’s and Australian representative players – along with returning current Men’s Open midcourter James Robertson and dynamic defender Asa Alefaio, Seahawks have the experience needed to win the title.
Long term juniors, who would now be classed as accomplished seniors, Cameron Martin (U23s) and Jackson Mynott (U23s Devs) return, as do tall timbers Desmond Blacio (former Kenyan national basketball and netballer) and Bala Lange (former Open Mixed and Australian rep).
Seahawks have also added speedy attacker David Butler (Mixed Opens), defensive workhorse Sam MacKerras (Men’s Reserves) and further height in promising shooter Daniel Jefferies (Men’s Reserves 2).
Look out for them this season (especially in their new colours) as they look set to go one better in 2017.
Player Roster: Asa Alefaio, Clint Allwood, Desmond Blacio (will play when no SEABL Basketball commitments), Adam Boldiston, David Butler, Daniel Jefferies, Bala Lange, Sam MacKerras, Cameron Martin, Jackson Mynott & James Robertson