Altona women ready for Big V return


Tara Murray

There’s plenty of excitement at the Altona Basketball Association as the Gators field a Big V women’s side for the first time since 2017.

Having focused on the youth league women’s side in more recent times, the club now has the players to reform a women’s side.

New coach Cameron Wilkosz said after some hard work behind the scenes, they were set to go.

Wilkosz’s basketball journey is a well travelled one, with a role as lead assistant coach for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Alberta Canada, WNBL Bendigo Spirit Academy head coach and head coach of the Bendigo Braves Victorian Youth Championship Women.

“They had a few rough seasons and decided to focus on the kids,” he said of Altona.

“There’s a lot of talent coming through the club. It’s a credit to the club and who they are. Now there’s kids travelling the world and playing at college.”

Wilkosz said his experiences coaching against the club’s youth league side made it a no-brainer to apply for the women’s role when it came up.

He’s of the view that the players who are stepping up into the women’s side are more than ready.

“Randy Shanklin [coaching director and youth league women’s coach is an amazing coach and the opposing coach I was most close with,” he said.

“Altona is a really good club. Altona just doesn’t put on the best spread after the game, they are a friendly club.

“The kids are looking for feedback from opposition coaches. You didn’t get that at Bendigo.

“I wanted to be a part of that.”

Wilkosz said he had a certain way of coaching and the playing group was starting to adjust to his ways.

He had been impressed by the team.

“After watching training, they’re not a team that will just float around.”

essica Rarity, Jaylen-Rose and Kendall King-Hawea and Reyhan Aziz are among the key players in the Gators squad.

Wilkosz said they would have a ‘one club’ mentality, with players from the youth league squad to be part of the senior side every week.

“The idea is to use it as a stepping stone.”

Wilkosz said that not only were they excited by the two Big V teams but there was more talent coming through.

He was expecting big things of the players coming through and they could see more players joining the college system.

Wilkosz said the first aim this year for the women’s side was to get the side back up and develop a solid foundation.

“We want to be more than competitive. Win, lose or draw it’s about being the toughest team on the court.

“We’ll assess half way through the season.”

The Gators play their first practice match this weekend and is keen to get crowds back after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of Big V last year.

The club is also looking for sponsors, for the team and players.