IT TOOK six seconds for Ash Cannan to make his CBL presence felt.
Posting his first points in the league from the first tip-off, Bellarine’s veteran centre stormed out of the blocks from the start.
There was no easing into the CBL season for Cannan as he looked to make an immediate impact. Standing 200cm, imposing himself on the game wherever he stood and giving plenty of advice to his younger team mates, Cannan showed there was plenty left in the tank.
In the Storm men’s 115-52 victory over Warrnambool, Cannan set the stage early with 18 points to start life on court in the summer.
After calling a day on his SEABL career at the end of 2017 there was still enough of a spark… that basketball itch we can never completely scratch, that had him keen to stay in the game.
“After retiring in 2017 and not playing last year there’s still a little bit of a fire in the belly,” Cannan said. “To be asked to play basketball at this level by Beaugie (Luke Beauglehall) – it’s nice to be asked and nice to be back on court in a competition such as CBL.
“Was playing Geelong over the last five years and the whole region is growing from Corio Bay to Geelong and now Bellarine – so when you get an opportunity to potentially help the younger kids go through and even if it’s just a bit of veteran leadership, to see these kids get their first chance at a senior game I would automatically jump at it.”
He’s been lucky with injuries throughout his career and believes he can still thrive in the game.
“I’ve been playing locally – conditioning will be a little bit of a thing – but I’ve been lucky enough to have a long career and not many major issues or injuries,” Cannan said.
“I’ve never really been an athletic player, so I’ve always been run up and down, set some good screens and talk on defence, and normally everything else comes along pretty well from that.”
It’s not just about his own impact that interested him in Bellarine though. Passing on his wisdom was a great drawcard for Cannan and he’s been impressed with the work-rate and professionalism from the group’s younger players that he’s keen to mentor.
“The young Bellarine players listen, they’re willing to get better and some of the other guys like Joss, Jack Burnett, Nath Gronbeck and Freindy, those guys are just fun to play with,” Cannan said. “They’re smart players and we’ve got a good mix of youth and very, very veteran like myself but the young group is really good.
“The coaching staff have made it really positive so far.”
When Bellarine Storm’s men’s head coach Luke Beauglehall, it was a phone call Cannan was more than happy to take. Beauglehall said the likes of Cannan and Nathan Freind are too valuable to be lost to the game and thought their impact on the group would be immeasurable.
“When I decided to take on the head coaching role, the first thing I wanted to establish and develop was culture,” Beauglehall said. “The first two calls I made were to Ash Cannan and Nathan Friend – when you talk about off-court leadership and experience, there’s not many better in the region.
“Ash’s presence on court and around the club is contagious, he leads by example and is ready to offer advice to the younger players.
“Often at training I’ll turn around and see him discussing a set or a wrinkle, to not only the youth players but the senior group as well, so that makes my job easier again.
“Ash’s biggest influence will be with the bigs we have coming through the program – Ash is crafty player with great knowledge of the game and we can already see the younger players asking questions and willing to learn.”
Bellarine hosts fellow newcomer Bacchus Marsh on 27 October at home.