Tag: riley simmons

NBL1 South men’s wrap: Round 5

NO National Basketball League (NBL)1 South men’s team remains winless after both Albury-Wodonga Bandits and Dandenong Rangers secured wins this round to even up the ladder following Round 5 of action.

Hobart Chargers (107) def. Diamond Valley Eagles (97)

A dominant first quarter set up Hobart Chargers for a memorable 10-point win over Diamond Valley Eagles on Friday night. The Chargers piled on 40-22 in the opening term, and whilst it was fairly even after that – and the Eagles made up nine points in the second half – it was the first stanza that did all the damage as Hobart won 107-97. Jonathan Mines lead the way with 32 points – including seven of 14 from three-point range – two rebounds and two assists. Jack Stanwix (19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists), Zachary White (16 points, six rebounds) and Koen Sapwell (11 points, six assists and three rebounds) were other productive scorers in the victory. Robert Heath top-scored for the Eagles with 21 points, as well as seven rebounds and three steals, while Blacio Owili (13 points, seven rebounds and two assists) and Joel Capetola (12 points, six rebounds and four assists) were also busy.

Geelong Supercats (90) def. Melbourne Tigers (66)

Geelong Supercats have claimed a comfortable 24-point victory over Melbourne Tigers, dominating the opening three quarters to build that unassailable lead. Whilst the second term was relatively close, the Supercats won the first and third terms by eight and 13 points respectively which all but confirmed the 90-66 win. Gabriel Hadley (23 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) top-scored for the Supercats, while Jack Macdonald (21 points, six rebounds and six assists) and Owen Odigie (13 points, six rebounds and three assists) also reached double-figure points. Felix von Hofe (18 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) was the top points scorer for the Tigers, while Anthony Karabatsos (11 points, five rebounds) and Keenan Willie (10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals).

North West Tasmania (100) def. Diamond Valley Eagles (78)

Doubling down on Diamond Valley’s pain on the Apple Isle, North West Tasmania Thunder came to play with a fairly impressive 22-point win at home. The Thunder raced out to a seven-point quarter time lead, and whilst the Eagles cut that back by two, the home team dominated the second half with a 49-29 effort to run out 100-78 victors. Taran Armstrong (19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) was lively, as was Joseph Chilcott (17 points, six rebounds), Paul Campbell (16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks) and Bradley Simpson (16 points, six rebounds and four assists). For the Eagles, Heath again top-scored with 16 points in defeat, and also collected three rebounds. BJ Symons (13 points, three rebounds and three steals) and Owili (10 points, five rebounds and two steals) were also strong contributors in the loss.

Bendigo Braves (92) def. Eltham Wildcats (78)

Bendigo Braves’ ripping start to the season continued with an impressive 14-point victory over Eltham Wildcats at home. The Braves lead by a point at quarter time and half-time, and extended that to five by the final break, before blowing their opponents away with a 28-19 fourth quarter to win, 92-78. Ray Turner recorded a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Nelson Larkins (16 points, seven rebounds and four assists) and Chris Hogan (11 points, three rebounds and three assists) were also productive in the Braves’ win. Adam Doyle knocked down 32 points – five of 11 from long-range – as well as two rebounds and two steals to lead the way for the Wildcats, while Ovie Magbegor (eight points, 13 rebounds and three assists) and Sam Whelan (eight points, four rebounds) contributed well.

Dandenong Rangers (96) def. by Frankston Blues (104)

After trailing most of the game, Frankston Blues stepped up in the final quarter to blow away Dandenong Rangers by eight points, 104-96. The Rangers raced out to a five-point quarter time lead, and were up by eight points at the last change, before Frankston stormed home with 40 points to 24 and win in a tight one. Dillon Stith was huge with 32 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, while Lachlan Barker (25 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals), Alister MacDonald (17 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Lucas Barker (13 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals) all had big numbers for the Blues. Oliver Hayes-Brown (31 points, 16 rebounds) was a massive influence across the court for the Rangers, while Sean Macdonald (25 points, six assists and four rebounds) and Declan Soukup (15 points) also impressed.

Kilsyth Cobras (72) def. Nunawading Spectres (61)

Kilsyth Cobras’ strong start to the season continued with a low-scoring victory over Nunawading Spectres at home on Saturday night. The Cobras won the first three quarters, with the second and third terms being the most damaging to lead by 12 points at the final break, before the Spectres reduced the final margin to 11 in the 72-61 loss. Ben Ursich (17 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals), Deng Riak (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Corey Jeffs (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals) all contributed to the win in their own way across the court. Dain Swetalla had 22 points, nine rebounds and two assists for the reigning premiers, whilst Andrew Steel (20 points, four rebounds) and Costa Hronopoulos (nine points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) were the next best Spectres in the loss.

Albury-Wodonga Bandits (94) def. Waverley Falcons (82)

After a trying start to the year, Albury-Wodonga Bandits finally broke through for their first win of the season, downing the Waverley Falcons by 12 points on the border. The Bandits raced out to an eight-point quarter time lead and 11-point advantage at half-time. As has been the case in various matches this year, the opposition hit back in the second half to cut the deficit to seven points at the last change, but this time the Bandits stepped it up to hold on, win the final quarter in emphatic style 30-25, and record the 94-82 victory. Mitchell Dance (28 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, while Sharif Watson (24 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks) and John Crnogorac (14 points, nine rebounds) almost did the same in the win. Bennie Lewis was everywhere for the Falcons on the scoring front, dropping 32 points – six of 11 from three-point range – four rebounds and three assists. The other two double-digit scorers were Dexter Kernich-Drew (16 points, nine rebounds) and Durrell Mcdonald (12 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals).

Ringwood Hawks (87) def. Ballarat Miners (85)

Ringwood Hawks picked up their third win of the season in a nail-biter over Ballarat Miners, as a later triple from Jack Barry handed the Hawks the 87-85 victory. The home team trailed by two points at the first break and four points at the final break, but a 25-19 last quarter resulted in Ringwood coming over the top and snatching the win at home. CJ Asuncion-Byrd top-scored with 23 points and six rebounds, while Matthew Fennell (17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) picked up a double-double, and Ricardo Martin (14 points, seven rebounds and three assists) was also lively for the Hawks. Jock Perry racked up 25 points and seven rebounds in defeat for the Miners, teaming up well with William Hickey (22 points, seven rebounds and four assists), while Deng Acuoth (14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks) was also lively.

Mt Gambier Pioneers (118) def. Knox Raiders (93)

In another monstrous performance, Mt Gambier Pioneers picked up their fifth win of the season with a 25-point victory over Knox Raiders. The pioneers showed no mercy in the opening term, bolting to a 15-point quarter time lead. The game was closer after that, but the South Australian side extended the lead to 21 points and 26 points by half-time and the final break, before Knox won the last term to reduce it to a final score of 118-93. Nick Marshall (21 points, eight rebounds and three assists) top scored for the Pioneers as a whopping seven players hit double-digit points. Three others reached double-double milestones in Tom Kubank (19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists), Thomas Daly (17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) and Kane de Wit (14 points, 10 assists and four rebounds). The Raiders also had plenty of high scorers with six players hitting double-digit points, lead by Jack Roberts (18 points, four rebounds and three steals), Dylan Hare (17 points, five rebounds and four steals) and Abraham Nyok (12 points, seven rebounds and three assists).

Eltham Wildcats (105) def. Sandringham Sabres (91)

Compiling another loss for the Sandringham Sabres, Eltham Wildcats ran over the top of their opponents with an impressive second half to post a 14-point win. The Wildcats trailed by seven points at half-time then added 58 points to 37 after the main break to run away with the contest, 105-91. Simon Bradbury (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Justin Aver (20 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three steals) were huge in picking up double-doubles, whilst Whelan was a long-range shooting machine, knocking down eight of 15 from long-range to finish with 33 points. For the Sabres, Nicholas Gabsch top-scored with 28 points and eight rebounds, while James McKinnon (16 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Kuany Kuany (15 points, nine rebounds and five assists) were also productive getting into double-digit points in the match.

Frankston Blues (111) def. Bendigo Braves (82)

Frankston Blues made it back-to-back wins over the weekend, returning home to Frankston Basketball Stadium to put away Bendigo Braves by 29 points. The Blues raced out to a 10-point lead at quarter time, and 19 points by half-time, and when the teams headed for the final break, it was 28 points the difference. The final term was a lot tighter, but the damage was done, and the home team won 111-82. Lucas Barker came agonisingly close to a triple-double with 17 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Stith (22 points, four rebounds, four assists and four blocks), Lachlan Baker (22 points, five rebounds and two assists) and MacDonald (16 points, six assists, two steals and two rebounds) were again lively. Turner put on another double-double show of 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Jake Lloyd (16 points, eight assists and six rebounds), Brennan Rymer (16 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Matthew Andronicos (14 points, five rebounds) were also steadfast in defeat.

Melbourne Tigers (85) def. by Dandenong Rangers (93)

Dandenong Rangers bounced back from a loss the day before to Frankston in order to post an eight-point win over Melbourne Tigers, their first victory of the season. The Tigers lead by five points at quarter time, but the Rangers quickly turned that around to storm to a five-point half-time lead themselves thanks to a 24-14 third term. The visitors maintained the rage in the third quarter thanks to a 28-19 term, before Melbourne cut the deficit back by winning the last stanza, but it would not be enough as the Rangers won, 93-85. Hayes-Brown top-scored again with a massive double-double of 23 points and 16 rebounds, while Macdonald (13 points, six assists and two rebounds) and Riley Simmons (17 points, eight rebounds) were also productive for the Rangers. Melbourne had an even spread of scorers lead by Dogukan Elyazar (16 points, three rebounds), Karabatsos (15 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals) and Willie (14 points, seven rebounds five assists and two steals) among five double-digit scorers in defeat.

Picture credit: NBL1

Victorian Under-20 and Ivor Burge teams announced

BASKETBALL Victoria has announced the Victorian 2021 Under-20 and Ivor Burge teams, selected to represent the state at the next Australian Junior Championships.

The six teams will make their way to Mackay, Queensland in May for the Australian Under-20 Junior Championships and Ivor Burge Championships for athletes with an intellectual disability.

Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Men

The Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Men’s team features national champions Harry Johnson and Mason Perry, and former Victorian representative Christian D’Angelo. The side is set to be coached by Basketball Victoria High Performance Head Coach (Metropolitan Men) Ash Arnott, and will be assisted by Nathan Cooper-Brown, Zach Moult and Neil Mottram.


Anthony Dell’Orso (Broadmeadows)
Harry Johnson (Knox)
Christian D’Angelo (Traralgon/Nunawading)
Joseph Locandro (Waverley)
Kane Hynes (Wyndham)
Mason Perry (Dandenong)
Matthew Power (Camberwell)
Noah Todd (Diamond Valley)
Tom Carroll (Dandenong)
Will Hynes (Ballarat) 


Austin McKenzie (Horsham)
Dylan Bucknell (Casey)
Elijah Duol (Dandenong)
Ned Dillon (Eltham)
Patrick Twigg (Melbourne)

Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Women

The Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Women’s team will be coached by Australian Opals legend Jenni Screen, who is currently working as Basketball Victoria’s High Performance head coach (Metropolitan Women). She will be working alongside former national championship winning head coach Zoe Carr, Jo Wood and Kerryn O’Donnell. An on-court leader to look out for is VNPP athlete Jasmine Whately.


Courtney Willemse (Diamond Valley)
Janthin Yat (Dandenong)
Jasmine Whately (Geelong United)
Kodie Myszka (Dandenong)
Maggie Kratochvil (Melbourne)
Nya Lok (Waverley)
Lauren Jones (Wyndham)
Perina Leime (Dandenong)
Sarae Beveridge (Nunawading)
Tyla Paraha (Altona) 


Mariah Derksen (Kilsyth)
Tayla Hooper (Melbourne) 

Victoria Ivor Burge Men

The Victoria Ivor Burge Men’s team is looking to return to the top of the podium with a few familiar faces. Returning to the 2021 lineup are experienced mainstays Jake De La Motte, James Myers and Frazer Dawber. The only two new additions to the team are rising stars Jack Inella and Matthew Farrar.

Head coach Ryan Holloway is keen see the team play at the Championships.

“These championships mean everything to this team – they’re passionate and excited to be able to represent Victoria on the national stage,” he said.

“It’s going to be another tough year of competition with the Ivor Burge competition, but as a team we’ll be ready to hit the floor running.”

Holloway will be assisted by Adrian Carfora, Glen Jordan, and Karen Patterson.


Frazer Dawber
Jack Inella
Ryan Lethlean
Jake De La Motte
James Debetta
James Myers
Luke Nicholls
Matthew Farrar
Michael Snyders
Nick Cluning 


Ryan Briggs
Jake Booth

Victoria Ivor Burge Women

Unfortunately due to a lack of competing teams from other states, the 2021 Ivor Burge Women’s tournament will not go ahead. The side that won the 2020 Ivor Burge Women’s title in Canberra were reselected in the 2021 lineup.

Head coach Simon Robinson said despite these challenges, the program will try to put on alternative events to keep athletes involved and interested.

“I know a lot of the athletes well, know the families well – I do feel a big sense of obligation and duty to provide as many opportunities as we can [to] make it the best experience that we can,” he said.

“We’ll definitely be trying to give opportunities to the athletes to keep them engaged and get back to some sense of normalcy and 2022 will hopefully be like what it was in 2020.”

Robinson will be assisted by Justin May and O’Donnell.


Danielle Phillips
Evie Patterson
Jasmine Dellas
Jessica McCulloch
Kate Leckenby
Kaitlyn Papworth
Kaitlin Zonneveld
Montana Haag-Witherden
Natasha Exell
Rachel Potter 

Victoria Under-20 Women

The Victoria Under-20 Women’s team features a number of junior talent, including WNBL athletes Gemma Potter and Jade Melbourne, as well as current Centre of Excellence athletes Charlise Dunn, Emily Sewell and Olivia Pollard.

Head coach Katrina Hibbert says the group’s versatility mixed with elite level experience is a recipe for success.

“This team has the ability to play several different line-ups with the group we have selected – we can play big and dominate the paint and we can play with a smaller line-up with versatility through all positions to stretch oppositions and be aggressive and disruptive defensively,” she says.

“I’m looking forward to working with a talented group pf female athletes in a challenging tournament environment against the other top female players of their age group in Australia.”

Hibbert is assisted by Kerryn Mitchell (Frankston), Taylor Lee (Casey), and Lisa Page.


Charlise Dunn (Knox/COE)
Emily Sewell (Dandenong/COE)
Gemma Potter (Dandenong)
Georgia Booth (Kilsyth)
Hailey Merrigan (Bulleen)
Jade Melbourne (Traralgon/COE)
Kayla Salmons (Altona)
Luisa Fakalata (Nunawading)
Maddie Condron (Bendigo)
Olivia Pollerd (Southern Peninsula/COE) 


Elly Morgan (Dandenong)
Tess Barnes (Bendigo) 

Victoria Under-20 Men

The Victoria Under-20 Men’s team brings together the best of the Country and Metropolitan. Featuring Australian Boomers tandem Dyson Daniel and Patrick Ryan, NBA Global Academy representative Bol Dengdit and former Victorian representatives Brody Nunn, Josh Duach, Joe Moli, Keith Robinson, Riley Simmons and Owen Foxwell, this team is shaping up for success.

Head coach Matthew Nunn says the groups spark and intensity will make for some exciting baseball to watch.

“I think we have a very versatile and balanced team that will have very strong guard play at both ends,” he says.

“I think it is a great outcome for the Under-20 age group to participate at the championships this year, as it is a critical pathway for many young athletes to launch their future goals within the sport.”

Nunn is assisted by Andrew Cutler (Nunawading), Braden Cotter (Knox), and Wayne Bird.


Austin Shelley (Moe / Knox)
Brody Nunn (Knox)
Bol Dengdit (Melton/NBA Global Academy)
Dyson Daniels (Bendigo/COE)
Josh Duach (Kilsyth)
Jye Moli (Knox)
Keith Robinson (Phillip Island / Casey)
Owen Foxwell (Bulleen)
Patrick Ryan (Phillip Island / COE)
Riley Simmons (Dandenong) 

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Qualifying and Elimination Finals

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division begins its first round of finals on Friday, which will see only six teams remain at the round’s end. All games will be played on neutral courts, with Nunawading and Bulleen along with Melbourne and Diamond Valley hosting games at Hawthorn in two of the more exciting match-ups of the round.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 13-2-3) vs. Dandenong Rangers (4th, 12-4-2)

In the first round of qualifying finals, the Dandenong Rangers face the Kilsyth Cobras in Knox. Despite Kilsyth’s dominant record, the neutral territory is likely to favour Dandenong, with most of Kilsyth’s success having come from home (8-1-0). With six wins to five on the road, Dandenong enter as unlikely favourites in this contest, but are yet to beat the league-leaders. In their past meetings, Kilsyth won in April (59-53), before both teams fell short in the proceeding months with a 64-64 draw. Kilsyth’s Josh Duach will be closely watched in this match-up, having averaged 13.3 points per game from nine outings. With Roosevelt Williams (11.4) and David Okwera (11.9) also firing for Kilsyth, the Cobras enter likely to match Dandenong’s offensive weapons. For Dandenong, Harrison Bowater (12.7) remains most damaging, followed next by Jyelin Moli (11.7). They also enter this match-up having had every player crack double-digits on the scoreboard last week against Korumburra, with Moli and Riley Simmons leading the way with 21 and 15 respectively.

Nunawading Spectres (2nd>, 14-4) vs Bulleen Boomers (4th, 12-4-2)

The second qualifying final follows soon after with the Nunawading Spectres and Bulleen Boomers going head-to-head in Hawthorn. With the league’s most dominant away record (9-1-0), plus having snared the most wins this season (14), this match seems like a lock for the Spectres. They also currently boast three consecutive wins, having defeated Kilsyth, Dandenong and Diamond Valley over the last month. Last week Bulleen suffered a frustrating 60-63 loss to Bendigo, but should proceed boldly having defeated Nunawading earlier in the year (53-54). The Spectres will look to James Roche , currently sitting third for PPG (19.7) and first for overall points (177). He will be accompanied by Curtis Brecko (11.8), who has also put together an impressive year. Anthony Dell’Orso will be Bulleen’s greatest utility, sitting two below Roche in fifth with an average of 16 points per game. Owen Foxwell has also impressed with 14.3 PPG, including 22 points in last week’s loss.

Melbourne Tigers (5th, 10-7-1) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (8th, 9-9)

The first elimination final pits the Melbourne Tigers against the Diamond Valley Eagles. In their last two match-ups, Diamond Valley got the better in the first (74-61) but lost in horrible fashion a month later (71-39). Currently the Eagles boast consecutive wins, while Melbourne’s last fortnight has been poor, facing a thrashing against Bulleen (41-70) before tying with bottom-enders, Werribee.

Despite their positioning, Melbourne still sit without a top-20 shooter. Ezrah Vaigafa (10.5), Jordan Adams (10.4) and Lyzel Mataika (10.2) have all combined well this season but could struggle against some of the league’s bigger threats. Similarly, Diamond Valley are also without a top-20 shooter. Ethan Bateman currently leads the way with 10.9 PPG, followed close by Matt Marasco on 8.5, but dropping 19 points in last week’s win over Keilor.

Bendigo Braves (6th, 9-8-1) vs Keilor Thunder (7th, 9-9)

The last elimination final pits Bendigo Braves against Keilor Thunder. Last week both teams faced three point margins, with Bendigo defeating Bulleen (60-63) and Keilor falling short to Diamond Valley (57-60). In their last meeting, Keilor snared a 12-point victory over the Braves – handing Bendigo a rare loss at home. With neutral territory for both, Bendigo’s poor away record (3-6-0) could be a talking point in the lead-up. League standout, Caleb Connick, has been the pillar of Bendigo’s offence all season. Currently, he boasts fourth spot for PPG with 19.4 and sits third for overall points (155) from eight outings. William Smythe has also been effective in recent weeks – recording 14 points close behind Connick (15) in last week’s win. For the Thunder, Tonga Matapule Otutaha (14) and Jeffrey Ofoedu (10) have been impressive and should be backed to win the duel with Connick – having both outscored him in their last meeting.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 9

THE regular season reaches a close in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division with each side fighting for the best possible position in the lead up to finals.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 13-1-3) vs Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 13-4)

The finals preview between Kilsyth Cobras and Nunawading Spectres has a lot on the line for both sides. Kilsyth currently holds top spot, boasting a second chance and home final in the coming weeks. Nunawading has cemented their second-chance spot, sitting two wins ahead of Dandenong (fourth) in third. The Spectres will be determined to get up in this contest as they look to catch one of the two home-final spots still up for grabs. Though with their success on the road (8-1-0), a home final might not be the advantage they hope for. Comparatively, Kilsyth boast an unbeaten record in front of the home crowd, which, interestingly, will be tested against the competition’s best away record. Josh Duach will look to get up for the Cobras, having averaged 14.1 points per game (PPG) for the season. Similarly, league-scoring leader, James Roche, will be expected to maintain his dominant form for the Spectres.

Melbourne Tigers (6th, 10-7) vs Werribee Devils (13th, 8-9)

Sitting one spot out from the finals, the Werribee Devils will be looking to lift when they travel to MSAC to face the Melbourne Tigers on Friday. Over the last month Werribee’s record has been less than ideal, losing three of their last four games. Comparatively, the Tigers have won two of their last four, which includes a 29-point thrashing against Bulleen last week. Mathematically, a second-chance opportunity is still available for Melbourne as they sit just one win below the fourth-placed, Dandenong Rangers. Over the last fortnight, Jordan Adams and Patrick Twigg have been standouts for Melbourne. Adams’ ability was made known in their clash with Bulleen, scoring 18 points, while Twigg led with 12 in their win over Keilor. For Werribee, Darrien Herbert emerged last week with 15 points, while Makur Jongkuch dominated in their tight clash with Nunawading. Sitting sixth and seventh for PPG, big things will be expected for this pair.

Dandenong Rangers (4th,11-4-2) vs Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 7-10)

Dandenong will look to stay in touch with the top-four when they face the Korumburra Wildcats. Currently, the Wildcats sit at the bottom of the table but are still a chance to make finals if a few results fall their way. Dandenong sit ineligible for a top-two spot but continue to have their spot threatened with Melbourne just one win behind. Last week, they suffered a critical one-point loss to Nunawading, while Korumburra fell short against bottom-end rivals, Diamond Valley (73-65). In this week’s match-up, Harrison Bowater and Riley Simmons will be expected to fire for the Rangers, having averaged 12.5 and 10.9 PPG. The pair will be up against equal-best league scorer, Keith Robinson. Robinson dropped 28 points in Korumburra’s loss to Diamond Valley, moving his average to 20 PPG. Luis D’Angelo is also expected to fire for the Wildcats, sitting thirteenth with 13.1 PPG.

Keilor Thunder (10th, 9-8) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (12th, 8-9)

Diamond Valley Eagles head to Keilor Park this week where they hope to cement their finals spot with a win over the Thunder. Both teams recorded wins against bottom-end sides last week, with Keilor getting the better of Werribee and Diamond Valley defeating Korumburra. The stakes ramp up for both sides this week, with the threat of missing finals a reality for both. Jeffrey Ofoedu (17) and Tonga Matapule Otutaha (16) were big in Keilor’s win last week, while Paul Tsapatolis continues to lead in PPG (19.8) after dropping 22 points in Round 7. For Diamond Valley, Ethan Bateman has been standout with 11.5 PPG in 17th for league average. Ryan Hoffman and Joseph Brazier will also look to maintain form from last week, having drop 17 points each in their win over Korumburra.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 12-3-2) vs Bendigo Braves (11th, 8-8-1)

With the top-two still presenting for three teams, the Bulleen Boomers should look to cement their second spot with a comfortable win over the Bendigo Braves. The Boomers currently hold at two consecutive wins with one of the better percentages in the game. Over the last fortnight, they earned victories against Melbourne (41-70) and Korumburra (72-62), while Bendigo fell consecutively against two other top four sides in Dandenong (80-60) and Kilsyth (70-55). A loss for Bendigo may mean missing finals, with two teams below also on eight wins, and one below them on seven. Anthony Dell’Orso continues to be Bulleen’s greatest scoring threat, having recorded 18 points in last week’s clash to move to fifth across the league. Owen Foxwell also remains a threat with 13.4 PPG, while Bendigo’s equal-first league-scorer, Caleb Connick, looks to close out the league on top with 20 PPG.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 8

A TOP three clash headlines Round 8 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division with the bottom four sides battling for the last two spots in the eight.

Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 11-3-2) vs. Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 12-4)

The match of the round pits third placed Dandenong Rangers against second placed Nunawading Spectres in what could eventuate into a battle for a home final. The teams are on the same amount of points, with the Spectres having one extra win, but one extra loss as well compared to the Rangers’ two draws. The Rangers have only lost one game at home and the Spectres are seven from eight on the road, so it makes for an enticing contest. Harrison Bowater (13.1 points per game) and Riley Simmons (12.1) have been crucial for the Rangers this season and could form a damaging duo, while Nunawading’s James Roche (19.7) will be a danger to watch, as will his teammate Curtis Brecko (11.1). The winner all but takes second spot if they do not stumble in the final round before finals.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 12-1-3) vs. Bendigo Braves (10th, 8-7-1)

Top-of-the-table Kilsyth Cobras should not have any problems against Bendigo with an unbeaten run at home from seven games against a Braves outfit that is just two from seven on the road. The Braves are actually sixth on the table when it comes to Championship Division finals, but are still only three points clear of the division cellar dwellers in Korumburra. If they can cause an upset they are guaranteed finals, but a loss and the sides below them move a step closer, though they would need to lose both remaining matches to drop out. As for the Cobras, they could drop to third mathematically with two losses, but will likely secure the minor premiership this round with a superior percentage to all bar Dandenong. Josh Duach (14.1 points per game) and David Okwera (12.2) have been the key scorers, going up against overall division leading scorer Caleb Connick (20.0), who would love to see Dyson Daniels (15.0) return with the young star missing due to National Basketball League (NBL)1 and national representative commitments.

Diamond Valley Eagles (13th, 7-9) vs. Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 7-9)

The bottom two sides clash in what is effectively the last chance saloon for one of the sides to make finals. The loser will be out of the finals race, while the winner will leap frog the loser of the Keilor Thunder-Werribee Devils game and put themselves into the top eight sides. The Eagles are just three from seven at home, while the Wildcats are not any better on the road, with two from seven. What works in the Wildcats’ favour is the fact that the Eagles are yet to win since the post-grade split, dropping seven consecutive games after heading into the new grade as 7-2. Korumburra’s Keith Robinson has been a source of points, averaging 18.7 points per game, teaming well with Brodie Mabilia (12.6) and Luis D’Angelo (12.2), while Diamond Valley looks to Ethan Bateman who is leading the side with 12.1 per game.

Keilor Thunder (12th, 8-8) vs. Werribee Devils (11th, 8-8)

Sitting seventh and eighth in the division, it goes without saying a win in this game is crucial. The winner is set to play finals, while the loser will drop outside the top eight meaning their finals hopes will then rely on favourable results in the last round. Keilor has dropped its past five games and are just three from eight at home, while Werribee has not won for a few rounds now and sit with three wins from seven games on the road. Neither side has a great percentage, both well below the two teams chasing them, meaning a loss here would all but end finals chances. Paul Tsapatolis was a welcome return for Keilor in Round 7 averaging the second most points of any player with 19.8 points per game this season, while Werribee relies on two key shooters in Darrien Herbert and Makur Jongkuch who have the identical output of 15.0 points per game.

Melbourne Tigers (5th, 10-6) vs. Bulleen Boomers (4th, 11-3-2)

The other game set to create interest is the fourth and fifth clash at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC). A win for Melbourne will draw them within two points and give the Tigers hope they can snatch fourth spot with a win in the final round, but any other result assures the Boomers of a double chance. The Tigers are safe from Bendigo overtaking them unless they lose twice and the Braves win both remaining games. Melbourne has an even spread of scorers with Ezrah Vaigafa, Lyzel Mataika and Patrick Twigg combining for an average of 31 points per game. The Boomers have a number of high volume scorers with Anthony Dell’Orso (17.3 points per game), Owen Foxwell (14.1) and Nicholas Woodall (12.3) all key players.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Round 7 – Top 5 grab wins

THE top five teams were able to gain some separation from the bottom five sides in Round 7 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys competition with the dominant sides all getting wins over their lower ranked opponents three weeks out from finals. The bottom five teams are just one win apart from sixth to tenth, as three sides look to round out the top eight finals spots.

The closest game of the round was Nunawading Spectres’ six-point victory over Werribee Devils. The second placed Spectres maintained their top two ranking and extended their record on the road to eight wins from nine encounters. They led by just one point at the main break, but gained some separation in the second half, scoring 29 points to 24. James Roche was important with 24 points himself, while Luke Spurling (10) was a key contributor in the win. For the Devils, it was Makur Jongkuch who was everywhere sinking 27 points, while teammate Darrien Herbert managed 10 in the loss.

The top-of-the-table Kilsyth Cobras maintained their advantage with an eight-point win over Diamond Valley Eagles. They found themselves seven points down at the main break, but piled on 42 points to 27 in the second half to run over the top of the Eagles, 66-58. Roosevelt Williams stood out with 22 points, well aided by 16 from David Okwera, while Josh Duach (nine) was also impressive. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman finished with 15 points, while Ryan Hoffman slotted 11.

Fifth placed Melbourne Tigers kept touch with the top four courtesy of an eight-point win over Keilor Thunder. The Tigers raced out to an 18-11 opening term advantage, but the Thunder reeled them in to trail by a point at half-time. The Tigers regained control in the second half to post 30 points to 23 in the 56-48 victory. Keilor’s Paul Tsapatolis sank 22 points to be the standout scorer despite the loss, while Tonga Matapule Otutaha was next best with 10. Melbourne shared its points around with Patrick Twigg (12 points), Tom Koppens (11), Ezrah Vaigafa (10) and Lyzel Mataika (nine) all having plenty of impact on the court.

Fourth placed Bulleen Boomers took control in the first half against Korumburra Wildcats to set up an impressive 10-point victory. The Boomers held a 16-point lead at the main break and extended that to 18 by the last chance. The Wildcats hit back in the final stanza but could not recover from the heavy deficit, going down 62-72. Anthony Dell’Orso sank 21 points for the Boomers, one of a trio of stars who went big as Owen Foxwell and Nicholas Woodall both delivered 15 points. For Korumburra, Keith Robinson scored 18 points, while Luis D’Angelo and Brodie Mabilia helped themselves to 13 apiece.

The biggest win of the round went to Dandenong Rangers who toppled Bendigo Braves by 20 points, The Rangers showed no mercy in the first half, racing away to 22 points and while it was much closer in the second half, the damage was done. Harrison Bowater scored a game-high 26 points, as Jyelin Moli (15), Riley Simmons (10) and Mason Perry (10) all reached double figures. Contrastingly, Caleb Connick was a lone scoring machine with 20 points for the Braves as the sole scorer to reach double figures in the loss.

In the Reserve grade, Ballarat Magic and Eltham Wildcats continued their dominance in the grade, picking up wins over Geelong Supercats and Waverley Falcons respectively to make it six and four wins on the trot. In other results, Hawthorn Magic defeated Geelong Supercats by 10 points, Collingwood All Stars downed Knox Raiders in a two-point thriller, while Dandenong Rangers 2 piled on more pain for Ringwood Hawks with 63-56, making it eight consecutive defeats for the Hawks.

Next week, Dandenong hosts Nunawading and Melbourne plays Bulleen in a couple of matches that will shape the order of the top eight, while Kilsyth will look to go further on top with a home match against Bendigo. In the other two games, finals hopes are on the line when Korumburra travels to Diamond Valley and Werribee meets Keilor.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 7

WITH the regular season nearly reaching a close, Round 7 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division hopes to be a percentage booster for a few of the top-eight. As the fixture stands, no two teams will face within the top eight this round – with seven positions or over separating each match-up. Bulleen’s contest with Korumburra will be an important contest for the home-side, with the Boomers recording consecutive ties over the last fortnight. Also, with back-to-back wins in the last two rounds, the Braves will look to make it three in a row against the Rangers as they attempt to crack into the eight.

Bulleen Boomers (4th, 10-3-2) vs Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 7-8)

After recording consecutive draws over the last fortnight, the Boomers look to hold their top-four spot this week as they face the Korumburra Wildcats at home. In their last two outings, the Boomers hosted Dandenong (56-56) and Kilsyth (63-63), who sit first and third. Despite the results, the Boomers remain undefeated at home, and should remain as such when the Wildcats visit. Despite impressive at the season’s open, the Wildcats have only won two of their six outings. They put Keilor away early last week with a 32-15 first half, riding home comfortably to a 65-50 win. This week they face a few of the league’s top scorers in Anthony Dell’Orso and Owen Foxwell – who average 16.7 and 14 points per game (PPG) in fifth and eleventh for league-average. Korumburra boast Keith Robinson in fourth spot, averaging 18.8 PPG from five outings – followed next by Brodie Mabilia on 12.5.

Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 10-3-2) vs Bendigo Braves (10th, 8-6-1)

With a top eight spot in jeopardy, Bendigo Braves need to take a big scalp in Dandenong Rangers this week if they hope to play finals. On the road, the Braves have been disappointing (2-4-0), and despite two consecutive wins on the board, are yet to prove they can handle travelling. Last week, the Rangers were the only winning team within the top-four, taking consecutive draws in the rounds prior. Werribee copped a belting in Dandenong’s return to form last week (49-93), with the Braves likely to suffer similarly with the top-two up for grabs. Riley Simmons and Zac Taylor continued their form last week with 13 and 20 points respectively. Currently, Simmons averages 12.2 PPG in 14th across the league, while Taylor follows in seventeenth with 11.8. The Braves have league-leader, Caleb Connick, at the helm – averaging 20 PPG with 20 points in last week’s win.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 11-1-3) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (13th, 7-8)

This week Kilsyth Cobras boast the easiest fixture as they come up against a struggling Diamond Valley Eagles at home. Since losing last week’s match-up to Bendigo, the Eagles hold at six consecutive losses in the Championship Division. Their record looks set to worsen when they face the undefeated Cobras at home this week. Last week, the Cobras recorded their first non-winning result in the new division after drawing 63-63 with the Boomers. With the competition pressing, an easy fixture is all they need to reassert their position. David Okwera emerged in Kilsyth’s clash last week with 17 points, as Josh Duach retained form with 12 of his own. Duach places sixth for average points (15), while Okwera makes his way to eighteenth with 11.4. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman has been impressive – averaging 11.7 PPG in twelfth. Joseph Brazier impressed in their loss last week with a team-high 11 points.

Werribee Devils (11th, 8-7) vs Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 11-4)

The Werribee Devils face the Nunawading Spectres at home this week as the Spectres make a play for top-spot. After recording a rare 57-60 loss last week against the Melbourne Tigers, the Spectres will look to show off a dominant away record when they travel to Werribee. The Devils copped a flogging against a resurging Dandenong Rangers at home last week, and will not want to concede consecutive beltings. Last week, James Roche held strong for the Spectres with 16 points – followed next by Curtis Brecko with 11. The pair rank second and eleventh for average points and face strong competition in Darrien Herbert (4th) and Makur Jongkuch (8th). Herbert held strong in last week’s loss, recording 14 points – Jongkuch following on seven.

Keilor Thunder (12th, 8-7) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 9-6)

Despite the discrepancy in positions, only one win separates the Keilor Thunder and Melbourne Tigers. This week the Thunder host the Tigers, with a lot riding on both sides’ hopes for finals. The Thunder currently hold four consecutive losses on the board and have conceded 912 points to 850. Last week, the Wildcats defeated them 65-50, and the week prior they lost 81-50 against the Spectres. Comparatively, the Tigers are coming off an impressive win against the Spectres and remained more competitive than most in their loss to the Kilsyth Cobras (62-50). The Thunder missed their top three league scorer in Paul Tssapatolis (19 PPG) of late, but boasted solid performances from Aleksander Bandilovski (11) and Tonga Matapule Otutaha (11). Comparatively, Melbourne are still without a top 20 scorer. Though last week had impressive performances from both Patrick Twigg (14) and Lyzel Mataika (12).

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Round 6 – The top-four tightens with another big draw

FOR the second week in a row in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division, the Bulleen Boomers have picked up a draw against a top-end side – finishing 63-63 at home against the Kilsyth Cobras. In the contest, both sides remained close throughout. Bulleen opened the first term 23-18 before letting Kilsyth back in touch in the second with a 17-18 term. The Cobras tied up the third term at 53-53, with both teams scoring 10 points each to continue the trend into the final buzzer. On the board, Bulleen had a lot to like. Anthony Dell’Orso led his team in scoring with a solid 18-point performance, taking him to fifth spot in the league for points per game (PPG). He was accompanied well by Thomas Giannatos and Isaiah Harvey who emerged with 15 and 12 points respectively. For the Cobras, David Okwera made himself known with 17 points, cracking into nineteenth spot in the top 20, while Josh Duach continues to hold strong in the top-10 (seventh) with a 12-point performance.

Dandenong Rangers rebounded in dominant fashion this round with a big 48-93 thrashing on the road against the Werribee Devils. After taking a 56-56 draw at home last round against Bulleen, Dandenong looked to set the record straight. They opened the first term 29-12 before following up with 22-16 to take a 23-point lead into the main break. Werribee remained competitive for the third term to keep the Rangers to 16-14, but they let off the accelerator in the final term as they Rangers surged home with 26-7 closer – winning by 44 points. Seven Dandenong players cracked into double-digits on the scoreboard, with Zac Taylor leading the way on 20 points – moving to seventeenth spot on the league scoring table. Riley Simmons (13), Joshua Heywood (12) and Harrison Bowater (11) were among others who impressed for the Rangers. For Werribee, Darrien Herbert led the way with 14 points, followed next by Kaelan Matejin with eight.

Nunawading Spectres missed their opportunity to snare top-spot after losing 57-60 to a resilient Melbourne Tigers at home. After losing to the Cobras in the round prior, the Tigers looked to rebound against their competition as they push closer to the top four. Despite losing the second-half, their dominant work in the first two terms set them up perfectly for victory – taking a 35-28 lead into the main break. The result, along with the Bulleen and Kilsyth tie, has made the top-four and top-two available for a lot more teams as we pass the halfway mark of the season. Patrick Twigg led scoring for the Tigers with 14 points, while Lyzel Mataika followed close with 12. Despite the result, Nunawading boasted a solid performance from James Roche – scoring 16 points to retain second spot for league scoring. He was accompanied well by Curtis Brecko who had 11 to move to fifteenth.

A major streak continued as the Diamond Valley Eagles suffered their sixth consecutive loss against the Bendigo Braves (52-45) on the road. Despite keeping close for most terms – with only three points separating them at the main break (16-19), the Braves’ work in the third shut the Eagles out with 20 points to nine to effectively win them the game. League-leader, Caleb Connick, was immense in the match-up with 20 points, alongside Ethan Cunningham (eight), Jordan Michel (seven) and Isaac Murphy (seven), who all combined well on the floor. The Eagles had Joseph Brazier hold strong in the loss with a team-high 11 points. Ethan Bateman followed next with 10 points to move to eighteenth spot for league-scoring.

Korumburra Wildcats also kept one of the division’s less-glamourous streaks alive after handing the Keilor Thunder their fourth consecutive loss (65-50). Despite sitting two positions below Keilor in fourteenth, the Wildcats held the game from the very beginning. They scored 17-6 in first term and 15-9 in the second – taking a 32-15 lead into the second half. The Thunder won the next two terms by a point each but the Wildcats closed out the game with ease. Brodie Mabilia was dominant on the floor with 17 points, moving to 13th spot for league-scoring. NBL1 representative, Patrick Ryan (14) and Luis D’Angelo (13) were also impressive – standing up in the absence of top-scorer, Keith Robinson. For Keilor, Aleksander Bandilovski and Tonga Matapule Otutaha held up strong with 11 points each.

In the Reserve grade, the Casey Cavaliers took a 52-41 win over Collingwood All-Stars, Ringwood Hawks copped a 56-80 belting at home against the Ballarat Rush, and Knox Raiders picked up a big 66-77 win on the road against Hawthorn Magic. The round continued with Geelong Supercats losing 64-71 to Eltham Wildcats and Dandenong Rangers losing to Waverley Falcons (52-69).

In the Championship Division for Round 7, Dandenong Rangers hosted the Bendigo Braves, Keilor Thunder face an in-form Melbourne Tigers, and Kilsyth Cobras look to re-join the winners’ list against the Melbourne Tigers. We finish the round with Bulleen Boomers hosting Korumburra Wildcats and the Werribee Devils hosting the Nunawading Spectres.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 6

ROUND 6 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division kicks off on Friday night across Victoria with a few contests likely to go either way. As the Werribee Devils continue to build off the break, they look to make it three in a row when they face the Dandenong Rangers at home. The Nunawading Spectres also boast a similar affair against the Melbourne Tigers, with the match of round looking to be between the Bulleen Boomers and Kilsyth Cobras in a grapple for top spot.

Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 10-3-1) vs Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 11-1-2)

In recent weeks, the Kilsyth Cobras have been tested. Before returning to the winner’s list last week following their victory over the Melbourne Tigers, the Cobras copped their second draw against a formidable, Dandenong Rangers. This week the Cobras face another top four side in the Bulleen Boomers, who have also suffered a draw against the Rangers in recent weeks. Prior to last round, Bulleen enjoyed four consecutive wins in the Championship Division – taking notable victories from Nunawading and Keilor. With Anthony Dell’Orso and Owen Foxwell averaging 16.4 and 14.4 points per game (PPG) respectively; in fifth and eleventh for league scoring from five outings, the Cobras could struggle to match. Josh Duach (15.6 PPG) has been in top form for Kilsyth over the recent months but lacks a consistent partnership similar to Bulleen. Regardless, David Okwera (10) and Roosevelt Williams (nine) continue to be huge assets for the Cobras, with Okwera dropping a game-high 25 points in last week’s win over Melbourne. If Okwera can get up again, it will be interesting to see which duo prevails.

Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 11-3) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 8-6)

With the Nunawading Spectres on the climb, the Melbourne Tigers face a serious challenge this Friday as they hope to get back a win on the road. Last week the Tigers fell to a rebounding Kilsyth, dropping them into dangerous territory on the table (fifth) with three teams equaling their current record. Prior to their loss, the Tigers looked to be building, earning a 32-point win over Diamond Valley before returning from the break to defeat Bendigo at home. Currently, they sit a 2-3 in the Championship Division, compared to Nunawading’s 4-1. Though like Melbourne, the Spectres are yet to knock-off a major contender, losing their biggest match-up this year against the Boomers. This game will be a test for both sides, who have been fortunate not to contend with many top-five teams since the division separated. All eyes should be on James Roche as he pushes for the number one spot for league scoring. Currently, he averages 19.6 PPG from five games, assisted well by Curtis Brecko (12.2) who also sits in the top 20. Melbourne’s, Ezrah Vaigafa rounds out 20th spot in the league, averaging 11 PPG in front of Jordan Adams (10.6) and Lyzel Mataika (10.4) who hold 21st and 22nd respectively.

Werribee Devils (7th, 8-6) vs Dandenong Rangers (4th, 9-3-2)

Making the long trip to Werribee for Friday’s clash, the Dandenong Rangers hope to end their two-game draw streak against an in-form Devils outfit. After facing Bulleen and Kilsyth in recent weeks, the Rangers should revel to face an opponent outside the top-four. The Devils have managed consecutive five-point victories in the last fortnight but have not fared as well against top-end sides such as Bulleen (70-58) and Kilsyth (45-71). With that in mind, the Rangers should put their weak fortnight behind them with a win on the road. So far, Riley Simmons leads scoring for the Rangers with a 12-point average from five appearances. He’s followed close by Harrison Bowater with 11PPG – rounding out the top 20 in nineteenth. For the Devils, Darrien Herbert has been immense with his 16.2-point average placing him in sixth overall for the league. Makur Jongkuch has accompanied him well with 14.2 – sitting 12th across the league. In this match-up, Werribee look a lot more dangerous on the board but lack Dandenong’s two-way game.

Bendigo Braves (13th, 7-6-1) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (11th, 7-7)

The Diamond Valley Eagles hope to finally join the winner’s list when they face the Bendigo Braves on the road this Friday. Since joining the Championship Division the Eagles have recorded five consecutive losses – despite joining the competition at 7-2. The Braves have so far collected 2-3 from their time in the new division, earning their second last week against Korumburra. Currently, the Braves hold a fair 5-2-1 record at home – impressive given their position on the table. The Braves also boast the top league scorer in Caleb Connick who averages 20PPG, and Dyson Daniels who has been in good form in ninth spot with 15 PPG. Comparatively, Diamond Valley only average one player in the top 20 with Ethan Bateman averaging 12 PPG in fourteenth spot, while Matt Marasco and Erik Kafritsas follow next with 8 and 7.8 points respectively.

Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 6-8) vs Keilor Thunder (8th, 8-6)

In one of the most interesting match-ups of the round, the Korumburra Wildcats and Keilor Thunder both risk suffering four consecutive losses when they face on Friday. In recent weeks, the Thunder have fell to three top four sides in Nunawading, Bulleen and Dandenong. Comparatively, Korumburra have suffered losses to Bendigo and Werribee after falling by 35 points in a loss to Kilsyth before the break. The Thunder sit only one win below fourth, while the Wildcats could press for the top eight in the coming rounds. Paul Tsapatolis has been in good form for the Thunder, sitting third for league scoring with 19 PPG. Unfortunately for Keilor, Daelon Ateru is Keilor’s next best scorer on eight. For the Wildcats, Keith Robinson leads scoring with 18.8 PPG, one spot behind Tsapatolis in fourth. Unlike Keilor, Robinson has great support with Luis D’Angelo and Brodie Mabilia averaging 11.8 and 11.6 PPG respectively.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 5

WITH the table tightening up midway through the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys season, it is difficult to pick the game of the round. Three out of five of Round 5’s games will be played between teams exclusively within the top-eight. Bulleen Boomers host Dandenong Rangers, Kilsyth Cobras face Melbourne Tigers and Nunawading Spectres go head-to-head against Keilor Thunder. With the top three tied on 10 wins apiece, the results of this could possibly put a new team atop the table.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 10-1-2) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 8-5)

Kilsyth Cobras hope to re-join the winners list when they come up against Melbourne Tigers at home this week. Last week, the Cobras picked up their second draw for the season against an in-form, Dandenong Rangers. They remain atop the table but have given Bulleen and Nunawading space to press as they both pick up wins to equalise. Comparatively, the Tigers have weathered an easier fixture in recent weeks, snaring consecutive wins against Diamond Valley and Bendigo to hold in fifth at the end of last round. Back on the road again, it’s unlikely Melbourne’s away record will stand up to the league-leaders. For the Cobras, Josh Duach has been in an impressive form with 14.5 points per game (PPG) – moving into seventh on the league scoring list, while Liam Croney (10.3) sits in eighteenth spot from four games. Jordan Adams has been Melbourne’s biggest asset, averaging 12.3 PPG from four games in the Championship Division, with Lyzel Mataika following close on 11.8.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 10-3) vs Dandenong Rangers (4th, 9-3-1)

Like the last, this game also looks difficult to pick, with the Bulleen Boomers hosting Dandenong Rangers at Mullum Mullum. Last week, Dandenong came close to rising in the top-four, but instead tied, ending their five game win streak. As of now, the Boomers hold the greatest streak in the competition with four consecutive in the Championship Division. They are also yet to lose a game at home, boasting a 5-0-0 record. Bulleen should look to utilise their star shooter in Owen Foxwell, who sits fourth for overall league scoring. Anthony Dell’Orso is close behind for the Boomers in sixth, averaging 15 PPG. For Dandenong, Riley Simmons leads scoring with 13.3 PPG, followed close by Harrison Bowater on 12. Mason Perry will also look to back up last week’s 15-point performance for the Rangers, while Otto Mananov’s 12 points was also a feature last week for the Boomers.

Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 10-3) vs Keilor Thunder (6th, 8-5)

Nunawading Spectres look to snare their third consecutive win when they face Keilor Thunder this week. The Thunder have gradually slipped down the table, following losses to top-four contenders in Bulleen and Dandenong. A loss this week could potentially send them out of the eight, while Nunawading threaten for the top spot. Though its possible that the Spectres receive a reality check this week, after snaring wins from bottom-end sides in Bendigo and Diamond Valley. Despite having loss two consecutive, the Thunder have presented a real scoring threat in Paul Tsapatolis (19 PPG), while Tonga Matapule Otutaha presented strong with 10 points in last round’s clash with the Boomers. On the Spectres’ end, James Roche has been immense, averaging 18.8 PPG in third for league scoring, while Curtis Brecko boasts 11th spot with 12.8 PPG.

Werribee Devils (10th, 7-6) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (9th, 7-6)

Though not in the eight, the clash between the Werribee Devils and Diamond Valley Eagles looks to be a good one. Diamond Valley are yet to snare a win in the Championship division and have gradually slipped out of the top eight as a result. Contrastingly, the Devils look to be on the rise, pushing into tenth spot following a win over the Wildcats last round. A win for either side could see them launch back inside the eight, as both only sit one win under sixth spot. The Devils have shown great scorers in Makur Jongkuch (15 PPG) and Darrien Herbert (13.5), who sit sixth and ninth respectively on the league scoring ladder. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman has put together a few good games in the Championship Division, averaging 12 PPG, with Erik Kafritsas following next on 9.5.

Bendigo Braves (14th, 6-6-1) vs Korumburra Wildcats (12th, 6-7)

Bendigo Braves host Korumburra Wildcats this week for a chance to snare their second win in the newly established Championship Division. Korumburra are in a similar position, having lost their last two. Both sides present a real chance to slip further down the table with a poor result, but somehow still only sit one win outside the top-eight. Regardless of their results, the Braves boast the top league scorer in Caleb Connick, who averages 19.5 PPG and receives decent scoring support from Isaac Murphy (10). For the Wildcats, Keith Robinson has been similarly impressive, sharing top spot with Connick over the last two months before landing in second with 18.8 PPG. The Wildcats also have Luis D’Angelo (11.8) putting up solid numbers to keep them competing.