CBL Round 3 Previews

From 3-9 last season to 3-0 this time around, it’s been an amazing 180 for Myrtleford in the new CBL season.

 The inaugural season had its challenges for the CBL North East side, but the lessons learned in the first campaign have set Myrtleford up for bigger and better ambitions.

Myrtleford’s CBL Men’s coach Michelle Barker puts the flying start down to a sensational pre-season and chemistry from the Saints’ core group.

“We are putting the great start down to a terrific pre-season, all the team was really locked in on our plan for the season and have been working really hard,” Barker said. “The amazing team chemistry on and off the court is also helping.

“Extremely happy with this start to the year and we’re looking forward to seeing where the year can take us.”

In spite of losing powerhouse 2018/19 performer Jalen Barker, Myrtleford has rounded out its roster and found strength in its newest batch of up-and-coming talent.

“Jalen has left a huge hole in the team from last year, but the year of experience for Jackson Townsend, Charlie Crisp and Will Mackerel has seen them all step up,” Barker said. “Plus the addition of Marcus LaSpina coming off a great season in the MUVJBL with the Nunawading Spectres 18-1s, Austin Wickes – the North East Bushrangers rising star – and Abe Cox bring in  some age and experience to give the 2019 squad a really good look.”

Following their wins against Wangaratta, Wodonga and Benalla, the Saints will be out to take another scalp when they head off to Shepparton on Saturday.

“We will go into the game thinking we have every chance of winning, if we didn’t we’ve lost before we start,” Barker said. “With no stats on Shepp for this year so far we will just have to take it quarter-by-quarter and see what happens; of course we are hoping to make it 4-0, but Shepp will have other ideas.”

 

NORTH EAST MEN

Seymour will look to lock away top billing in the Conference with its double-header away against Wallan and Wodonga. Seymour had it well over Wallan last season… but things change, the game evolves and last week isn’t the be all and end all. Max Viitala has started the season red-hot and will look to carry it on this weekend against Seymour and Shepparton.

Speaking of Shepparton, there are plenty of eyes on last year’s semi-finalist. They were struck out of the title race in a thrilling 71-74 loss to Wodonga and will be out for retribution. Jack Threllfall and Dylan Wayman have been consistent performers for the Gators year-round for a while now and there are some good new faces peeking into the roster including U16 Victoria Country guard Jordan Michel.

Wangaratta will look to get on the board this weekend against Wodonga and snap its two-game losing streak to start the season.

Wallan v Seymour

Shepparton v Myrtleford

Wangaratta v Wodonga

Wallan v Shepparton

Wodonga v Seymour

NORTH EAST WOMEN

Maryborough has loaded up to start this season with a particularly interesting clash set to come their way against Kyneton. Tori Chandler, Bella Westbrook and Maggie Tranter have made a great start to the year and helped the Blazers to a 2-0 record.

Shepparton tips off their home opener against Myrtleford with the likes of Marni Sharp, Rhianna Barton and Ebony Grace all starting strongly, while Myrtleford has split its results with Paige Zamperoni, Racquel Stevens and Grace Mckerral all starting strongly.

Wangaratta has two attempts at home to get on the scoreboard with Wodonga and Bendigo heading up the hill. Chloe Storer has carried her strong Big V form into the CBL season as the new-look roster settles in to life on court.

Kyneton v Maryborough

Shepparton v Myrtleford

Wangaratta v Wodonga

Wangaratta v Bendigo

 

NORTH WEST MEN

Short and sharp this week in the North West as Swan Hill battles Mildura, as both sides aim to turn around their form heading into round three, while high-flying Maryborough will set its sights on 4-0 when the Blazers battle Kyneton on Saturday night at home.

Swan Hill v Mildura

Kyneton v Maryborough

 

SOUTH WEST MEN

Bacchus Marsh has relished its start to life in CBL with a pair of wins to tip off the inaugural season. With variety, versatility, age and experience all present, there’s plenty to be pleased with in the opening fortnight of their senior team’s existence. Will Feben and Jordan Kirk have been in the points early and have taken to the competition with aplomb. They’ve got Bellarine and Geelong to round out the coastal swing and plenty to go up against as the likes of Mitchell Barnes and Jake Raynor will have the hard tasks against Ash Cannan, Liam McInerney and the like in the post.

Terang will look to break its 1-1 record in a positive way against Geelong on Saturday night with the likes of Scott Judd and Michael Payne already going a step above their output in 2017/18.

Warrnambool’s tough start to life back in CBL won’t get any easier when it hosts Mt Gambier on Saturday night.

Bellarine v Bacchus Marsh

Geelong v Terang

Warrnambool v Mt Gambier

Geelong v Bacchus Marsh

SOUTH WEST WOMEN

Warrnambool has been the bridesmaid twice already this season and will be hard-pressed against a clinical Millicent outfit. They were severely down on numbers last week though so that might just be an anomaly instead of a trend. An interesting match to keep an eye on as Millicent looks to fire on all cylinders again through Emily Winter and Ashleigh Berman.

Geelong has plenty of talent in the tank with the likes of Georgia Varley, Chloe Skinner, Alisha Knights and Alannah Northam in the line-up. When they connect the dots there’s plenty to be worried about down at AWA Alliance Bank Stadium, but they were overrun last week by Colac and will be out to bounce back straight away.

Geelong v Terang

Warrnambool v Millicent

 

GIPPSLAND MEN

Warragul and Moe are battling for the unbeaten record as of the end of round three with the Warriors and Meteors alike flying this season. Dwain Scott is in red-hot form for Warragul while on the Moe side it’s hard to go past the likes of Billy Bundle and Nick Sedley. Expect fireworks as these sides showcase their skills at Warragul Leisure Centre.

Western Port will host Sale in its first “home” game of the season so far. The Peninsula nomads have made home out of wherever they’ve been forced to roam following their stadium fire in 2016, but thankfully those days are almost over. But in the mean-time the Steelers have remained strong and recruited well with James Langford, Oscar Keating and some strong youngsters in Jack McDonald and Thomas Bahen in its midst.

Bairnsdale will face Churchill to round out the weekend down in Gippsland Men as the Bullets aim to get on the board against the always mighty Blue Devils. It’s a fair challenge but Andrew Savige and Jordi Williams have been shining lights in the struggling start for Bairnsdale. 

Western Port v Sale

Warragul v Moe

Bairnsdale v Churchill

 

GIPPSLAND WOMEN

On the Women’s side of the Warriors/Meteors equation, both sides will be desperate to take the points and generate some much needed form. It’s been a rough start to the season for Moe, but last year’s All Star Five Carly Mullen-Bianconi continues to be the centrepiece of their efforts and holds together the Meteors. Warragul has the pieces in place through Mikaela Dickson, Shanara Notman and Jasmine Ferguson and the results are right around the corner.

Warragul v Moe

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