North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse

ALEX FAIR THE ADVOCATE North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

The North-West Coast is a very important piece of the puzzle for Simon Brookhouse, the man entrusted with the responsibility of leading Tasmania’s new NBL side off the court.

Brookhouse, who was named as the side’s chief executive officer on Thursday as the first major appointment ahead of the side’s 2021-22 entry, has a pretty good knowledge base of the strength of the game in this region due to his previous roles in the sport.

As president of the Hobart Chargers from 1999-2002, the chief executive officer of Knox Basketball from 2008 to 2011 and chairman of the SEABL competition from 2007-2018, Brookhouse has ventured into this territory previously, so says that with some confidence.

“It certainly was always a challenge to go with either the Chargers or the Knox Raiders to the North-West Coast to play and I know that even the Union [NWBU] competition produces strong basketball and has people travelling from across the state to play as well as overseas imports, and there has just been some great players to come out of that region,” said Brookhouse, who was born in Sydney and grew up in Melbourne, but has spent “plenty of time” in Tasmania.

North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

“And some really good coaches have been developed up there, and Sam Armstrong is coaching up there now [with the Thunder}, who I remember as feisty and strong willed player with great skills and has turned into a great coach, so it is a really hotbed of great basketball tradition on the North-West Coast.

“The one message for the North-West Coast is while we may not have a venue that we can play home games at the moment we will be entrenched in that area and we will do whatever we can to support the basketball community on the North-West Coast.”

Playing pre-season games here and ensuring players and coaching staff have a strong presence here will be vital he said, with the team to be very “community focused” while work in conjunction with Basketball Tasmania to achieve this.

Brookhouse, who is currently the general manager of golf operations for Golf Australia after seven years as Golf Victoria’s chief executive officer, will start next month.

North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

“We get to build something from scratch and get the whole Tasmanian community behind us,’ he said.

“I do think it will be the number one sport in Tasmania and will be the big show in town and I think the NBL should be applauded, as many other codes have thought about having a team from Tasmania in their national competition but haven’t followed through with it.”

North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

Some of his first responsibilities will be involved with the appointment of other key roles of commercial manager, operations manager, membership and community engagement manager and marketing coordinator, with thoughts now also turning towards who might coach the team.

That appointment, he said, could be a long process, more likely to take months, not weeks, saying they would happy to look both at home and overseas for the right option.

“If you get that coaching piece right, and I think the rest can look after itself when it comes to that on the court presence,” he said.

North-West Coast connection will be vital says, Tasmania’s NBL chief Simon Brookhouse | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

“It is a really pivotal role and if you get that wrong it is a long way back. You don’t need a coach to win every game in the first season, as that is unrealistic that you are going to have a start up and win every game, but you still want to be competitive and have that competitive spirit and have that home game culture and the strength of having the fans behind you and make Tasmania be a tough place to travel and a tough team to play against.

“We will be aiming where possible to get Tasmanian talent, and the same with recruiting the staff off the court as I think it is really important that we have a real Tasmanian presence that understands the market down there, so and I have no doubt with the playing roster and off the court there definitely will be a Tasmanian flavour.”

What the team will be called is also likely to be known soon. The league’s naming competition will close at midnight on Friday, with five options trademarked this week, Mountaineers, Timbers, Jack Jumpers, Tridents and Pride.

Brookhouse said the fact the public were deciding this name would ensure it would be a success and while he didn’t lean towards one over the other, as they were “all good”, he did admit he liked the “concept of the Tridents, with the three parts of the state”.

NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman welcomed Brookhouse’s appointment on Thursday morning:

“Simon brings outstanding credentials to this important position as we prepare to launch Tasmania’s new NBL team in 2021-22.

“He has strong experience across sport and business but also understands the importance of working with government and local communities.

“He has lived and worked in Tasmania and is a proven leader who will help bring the community together for this exciting journey ahead.”