The Eltham Wildcats are excited to announce our Youth League (U23) squads ahead of the 2021 Big V season that tips off this weekend.
Proudly supported by Lyons Body Works Eltham
From the club:
D’Wayne Hogan was the first person we asked about coaching the Youth Women leading into the 2020 season and rightly so. D’Wayne’s main focus was on returning many of our junior graduates, some of whom had taken a year off to try football. D’Wayne’s commitment to the cause throughout COVID and for a second pre-season has been evident. We’ll have a large contingent swinging between the NBL1 and Youth teams, whilst others that will manage junior commitments alongside their Youth team. D’Wayne is the perfect coach for our club to help transition rookie juniors into the Youth divisions and then support their opportunities at the next level too. With D’Wayne having assisted at the State Championship level and with a successful record at junior level himself, 2021 represents a great chance to continue to move the Wildcat Youth Women forward under his leadership.
From the coach:
Having the season halted the day before Round 1 in 2020, the group came back in late 2020 with great vigour to be a title contender. Numerous zoom sessions, along with sessions out in the park put the group in good physical shape to tackle the 2021 pre-season once we were allowed on the court.
While having a large portion of our group returning from 2020, we wanted to continue to expand the connection with our VJBL program and NBL1 program, resulting in several of our under 16s and under 18s training, and included in our squad, along with several of our youth squad given opportunities with the NBL1 squad. Thus developing our next NBL1 talent, giving our juniors an opportunity to achieve, while also winning NOW to get us back to Youth Championship division.
Every season over the past 3 years the youth group has got better, while the group has evolved as our juniors mature from play under 16s through under 18s to now youth league and this 2021 season is an opportunity for the group to take a step forward and become a contender to win a championship. We are hoping that we can play an exciting style of basketball that will have our fans and sponsors coming back each week.
Youth 1 Women
Jessica Del Brocco
Head Coach – D’Wayne Hogan
Assistant Coach – Col McColl
Assistant Coach – Andrew Dixon
Team Manager – Carrie Davies
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From the club:
We’ve remained committed to running our Youth teams as a high performance, single sport program. Craig Stratford and his young men had unfinished business going into 2020 after being Runners-Up in 2018 and 2019 and that burn remains for 2021. Whilst there will be change to a portion of the group, Craig will have a strong mix of older players, balanced with the introduction of rookies and current U18 players. Craig is the leading coach outside of the NBL1 and is regarded as amongst the best junior coaches in the VJBL, as recognised by his appointment as the U18 Vic Metro Head Coach. On the back of representing the Asia-Pacific region as Head Coach at the Jr NBA U15 Global Championships in 2019, Craig is highly regarded and will continue his development of this important age group, preparing them for the move into the NBL1 in the months and years ahead.
From the coach:
With a core group returning from a 2020 team that did not get the chance to start the season, we have a group of young men eager to commence 2021. The experienced returning group has also received a welcomed injection of energy and enthusiasm from the next group of talented juniors making the step up to Youth Championship level basketball. This group has been really fortunate to have the opportunity to train consistently with our NBL1 senior men’s program over preseason, being exposed to the knowledge and leadership of both the senior players and coaching staff. With a roster that has a good blend of speed and size we have been using our time over summer to build our defensive structures and will be aiming to make an impact in the league at that end of the floor. We are really excited to have Air Fusion Heating & Cooling on board again as our key sponsor and look forward to commencing the season.
Victorian Youth Championship Men
Head Coach – Craig Stratford
Assistant Coach – Chris Cameron
Development Coach – Rod Degenhardt
Team Manager – Jodi Vine
The Big V season tips off this weekend with our Youth Women heading to Craigieburn on Saturday night (6pm) while the Youth Men have a double header playing at Blackburn on Saturday night (6pm) followed by a huge home opener on Sunday against Diamond Valley at Eltham High School (tip off 12:30pm). Tickets are now available, click here: https://www.trybooking.com/BPOPZ