Originally written by SIMON BAMPFIELD
THE 2001 Green Triangle Basketball League season will run under the same home and away format as in previous years.
The decision to stay with the concept was made at a meeting in Casterton on Sunday.
The meeting was called to discuss possible format changes due to a decrease in team nominations.
The Millicent Basketball Association had proposed a tournament style season, where three to four weekends of play would consist the whole season, depending on how many teams were involved.
Three weekends, plus a further one for finals, were proposed for a four team-draw, while four and a finals weekend were listed for five teams.
Teams would have been allocated three games per weekend, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday.
Portland was strongly against the idea, airing concerns over the physical demands of playing three games on the nominated weekends.
Playing three games on a weekend would make it difficult for the older players in the league to recover in time to play the third game.
However with all the concerns put on the table at the meeting, it was decided to stick with the usual home and away matches.
Teams will play each other twice, with the men’s competition consisting of eight games each while the women’s will be just six.
The finals venue runs on a rotational basis with Ararat hosting a successful series in 2000.
Warrnambool is next on the list, and will put its new stadium on show to the league. Portland is scheduled for the 2002 season.
If a club does not enter both men’s and women’s sides, the team then goes to the bottom of the list, rewarding the associations that consistently support the league.
Team nominations were also handed in with Portland, Warrnambool, Mt Gambier and Millicent all fielding men’s and women’s teams.
Terang will enter the men’s competition for the first time after considering joining the league for a number of seasons.
Terang has been given a further seven days to find a women’s side, but it is highly unlikely it will be able to form one in that time.
The Hamilton women’s side is up and running, but the men’s side has not had any interest in the coaching position.
Hamilton will also have seven days to decide on its immediate future in the GTBL.
The league would also have been disappointed with no response coming from the Ararat association.
Ararat has struggled to field a women’s side in recent years, despite winning the title in 1999 and coming desperately close to another grand final last year only to be pipped by Warrnambool in the semi-final.
The issue of eligibility also came up, mainly regarding Mt Gambier and Warrnambool ABA players.
In past season’s the two powerhouses of the region were unable to play its best seven Australian-born players.
For the 2001 season, the rule will stay as is with an added equation of any player averaging more than 12 minutes per game in Australia’s second-best competition deemed to be ineligible.
The season will kick off on October 6-7 with the league waiting on the competing associations to nominate any weekends it’s unavailable to play.
WINNING two titles in as many years will be a very difficult task for the Portland men’s side given all the possible absentees.
Five of the side’s top seven players will be missing with Nathan Lovett-Murray, David Groten, Ray Kohlman, Travis Skinner and Aaron Lindsey not expecting to play.