BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE While football politics still reign supreme in this region in terms of interest, basketball in Tasmania is making a solid charge up the leaderboard. Here’s my take on a few of the issues currently bouncing around:
The situation surrounding talented Launceston teenager Sejr Deans not being allowed to play for the North-West Thunder if he doesn’t play NWBU is a perfect example of what happens when you don’t adapt your rules to suit the times.
Without knowing the specifics, I’m tipping Deans already spends a significant chunk of his week on a basketball court. He clearly has ambitions to get to a higher level.
Playing and training for the Thunder in the NBL1, arguably the second-best level of competition in Australia, will help his development.
Playing two nights a week for a club in the NWBU, where he can’t get to training due to other commitments, won’t help him one bit.
The Thunder is the flagship program for men’s basketball in the northern half of Tasmania. It should be given every bit of assistance to flourish and attract the best players, no matter where they come from.
Deans is a Launceston product. He didn’t come up through a NWBU junior program and has no emotional ties with an NWBU club. What does it matter if he doesn’t have the time to commit to the competition?
Now I’m fully aware that without the NWBU, there would probably be no Thunder due to the financial assistance given by clubs to pay the imports. But without the Thunder, just how strong would the NWBU be?
The new world
It’s already happened in cricket, it’s happening in basketball and it’s trying to happen in football.
I’m talking about the situation when a sport’s state governing body grabs a greater control of local competitions.
Of course there are benefits – you get full-time staff, often with greater expertise, able to help clubs. But as the three aforementioned sports will all attest to, there are great challenges that lay ahead. Those staff, in effect, are asked to serve a minimum of two masters and sometimes more.
I can guarantee local presidents and board members are worried that they will lose control of their competition and its particular qualities for the sake of uniformity.
Tasmania is unique with how it’s population is spread out, and what works in Hobart doesn’t necessarily suit Launceston or the North-West Coast and vice versa.
The new junior inter-town structure will be a keenly awaited test to see how the relationship between Basketball Tasmania, the NWBU (soon to be NWBA) and its clubs will work.