CBL Men Preview
After a three hiatus, the Corio Bay Stingrays have re-entered the CBL competition and will be looking for more championships. First entering the league in 2009/10 as the Barwon Bullets, the Bullets took the league by storm, going undefeated and taking out the North West and State competitions. 2010/11 saw a new name as the Bullets became the Stingrays but there was no change in results as the team again went undefeated, taking out the first ever South West Conference title and a second consecutive State Championship. 2011/12 saw a different make up, as the core of the back-to-back champions rested before the first season of Big V. A young side returned to the finals for a third straight year but were outdone by the class of Mount Gambier in the Conference Finals. 2012/13 was the final year for the Mens team but once again saw a finals appearance, dropping the semi final to Horsham.
2016/17 sees a combination of the two previous selection philosophies, with a mixture of youth and experience selected from try outs. 'CBL has a lot of experienced and senior bodies,' Head Coach Jason Reardon said. ' You can't just step out from Under 18''s into senior basketball. Whilst we have a lot of talented juniors, it is imperative that you have some support.' That support comes from Championship Men stars Maalo Hicks, Paul Hutchison, Cal Walsh and Reardon himself. Though the senior experience is there, it is the up and comers that will be looked to to lead the team. 'We won't be successful if it's being left to the same people,' Reardon said. 'We have quite a few of the Youth boys (Youth League 2 Championship side) in Chris Eichler, Cohen Blythe, Kirk Harris and Josh Matsubara. Those boys will be pressing for a Big V Champ spot soon so this is a great opportunity for them to step up and show they can match it.'
The season kicks off on Saturday 8th October with a road double header against Warrnambool on the Saturday and Portland on the Sunday. 'We couldn't have asked for a tougher start,' said Reardon. 'Warrnambool are extremely tough and backing up again on the road in Week 1 will be hard against Portland.' Whilst there are never any easy beats in a competition like this, Reardon expects old foes will be the ones to beat. 'Mount Gamiber are a great team. Horsham, Warrnambool and Colac are always strong. With Millicent coming into the league, that just makes it even harder. But we're up to it.'
The Stingrays first home game is on Saturday 15th October at 8pm versus Millicent Magic. The women are at 6pm.