Westgate takes step into Big V

Troy Hezel will be part of Westgate's first Big V team. (Supplied)

Tara Murray

It’s been a number of years in the making, with a dream now a reality for Westgate and having a Big V team.

Basketball Victoria has announced that Westgate will field a youth league men’s division 2 team next season for the first time.

Westgate vice-president Sarah Simpson said it was a massive moment for the club which is currently based at RecWest in Braybrook.

“We’ve been working towards this for the last few years,” she said. “We are 10 years old and we’ve got juniors who have been at the club since under-12s and it’s nice for them to have somewhere to go after they age out of the junior competition in terms of representative basketball.”

Simpson said they had been in discussions with Basketball Victoria for a few years about having a Big V side and the the announcement of a new stadium at McIvor Reserve had played a massive role in helping that happen.

She said there had been little opportunities for basketballers in Melbourne’s inner west to play at that level with players having to go to other clubs.

“There’s a growing basketball community,” she said. “We’re maxed out with courts already.

“Youth league doesn’t impact junior competitions being on Saturday nights and Sundays.

‘We can now have that pathway. We’ve noticed the last few years… A lot of under-18s leaving seeking a pathway into a semi professional competition in Big V.”

Simpson said they had seen record numbers for try outs for all their sides and it was reflecting in the rankings of their sides in the Victorian Junior Basketball League competition.

The club was named the medium association of the year in the VJBL for the 2022-23 season which helped them gain entry into the Big V competition.

Simpson said they were hoping the youth league men’s side was only the start of the club’s representation in the Big V competition.

The club is hoping to also have youth league women’s and senior men’s and women’s teams.

“Our junior girls program started a couple of years after the boys and it’s probably a couple of years behind in development” she said.

“We need another year or two to continue to nurture the program. Hopefully next season [2025] or the season after that we can have a youth league women’s side.

“RecWest will be home for the youth league program. Hopefully the next year or two the McIvor development will happen and we’ll have Big V men’s and women’s sides on top of youth league as well playing there.”