Changes on the way for Lady Braves

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 17-Nov-2017

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Young players like Jessie Rennie will be a key building block for the Lady Braves. Photo: Andrew Perryman.
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MEGAN Moody’s appointment as Bendigo Lady Braves coach seems the surest sign yet of a shake-up of Bendigo basketball.

And while the clear focus on player development suits Moody’s strengths as a coach, the new direction is being driven from the top down.

With the Spirit and Lady Braves both falling under the administration arm of Bendigo Stadium Limited, they will be far more closely aligned than in previous seasons.

Related: Moody lands Lady Braves role.

That alignment will even filter down to what amounts to a “Bendigo” style of play, implemented from junior Braves right through to the WNBL program.

“That’s something we hold in high regard, having one style of play from under-12s to Lady Braves and through to the WNBL level,” BSL general manager of sport Ben Joske said.

“Megan allows us to do that and already in the discussions that we’re having in recruitment it’s coming to fruition.”

Joske is a key figure in the new structure of Bendigo basketball, as the key decision maker for the BSL’s sporting administration arm.

He comes from a commercial background with Richmond Football Club and has been charged with not only finding a new Lady Braves coach but also hiring the organisation’s director of coaching.

The investment in youth the Lady Braves look set to undergo may come at a price of short-term success, but the organisation is taking a far more broad approach.

“If you develop youth you’ll have success down the track,” he said.

“We’ve had success here in Bendigo basketball and we want to get back to that. But we do see development of our youth and a really strong pathway for not just Bendigo but central Victoria as a real focus for us.”

Having travelled the world in her playing days, Moody knows all too well the importance of strong pathways.

“We’ve got some fantastic players coming through and I think it’s really important that they see there is an opportunity here in Bendigo, that they don’t look down the highway to Melbourne,” she said.

“Under this roof they have a youth league opportunity, an SEABL opportunity and hopefully down the track a WNBL opportunity.

“To be able to provide everything here in Bendigo, there’s no reason players should be looking elsewhere.”

The approach essentially amounts to an idea oft-maligned in sports – just don’t call it a rebuild.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a rebuild. I’m assessing a lot of things at the moment,” Joske said. 

It also has benefits for the Bendigo Spirit, which could be the biggest beneficiary of the changes.

Coach Simon Pritchard is at the helm of a similarly inexperienced team, and says the benefits of a more structured approach from the BBA and BSL will have benefits throughout both teams.

“It’s the conversations more than anything else, Megan will do what Megan will do with her team, she’s got a dual role in winning games and developing players,” Pritchard said.

“We need the team to be competitive, because we’re not going to learn if we’re not competitive.

“We need to be around the mark. But I don’t think winning a championship is on her radar necessarily in the next couple of years.”

It may take time, something Moody is happy to invest plenty of.

“Sometimes success takes a little bit longer to build,” she said.

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