Eagle History

Eagle Historical Information

History of the EPDBA 

The East Perth District Basketball Association ( Inc. ) has a long and illustrious history and, having celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2007, is the oldest Club / Association in the State Basketball League. 



East Perth's history goes back to the formation of a Western Australian Basketball Association in 1946/47.  

As a founding member of that Association, we have a proud history - not only on - court achievements, but in initiative and innovative, decisive planning that has helped establish guidelines for current basketball developments.  

Originally known as the YCW - Highgate Basketball Club in 1946 - 47, and then as the Highgate Basketball Club from 1948, our teams were highly successful from the outset, and contested many finals.  

Premiership success eluded the Club for the first ten years, but in the years afterwards, a total of 35 Premierships were won at various levels of Western Australian basketball.  

The Club's teams were also highly sought after by country centres to provide exhibition games against aspiring local players. The Highgate club's motto was "Ask and we will come!" illustrating the Club's progressive and innovative outlook towards the development of basketball in Western Australia.  


In 1956, along with YMCA (Perth), Highgate was a founding member of the Women's Division of the Western Australian Basketball Association.  

In the women's competition the Eagles won four consecutive Premierships (1977 - 1980 inclusive), a feat that has not been repeated in Women’s District or SBL basketball to date.

Meanwhile, the Men's team have won three Premierships (1980, 1983 and 1988), whilst contesting the play - off rounds in most seasons.  

What is not generally recognised is that the women's team contested six consecutive Grand Finals from 1976 - 1981 and fell short of winning their fifth consecutive Grand Final by only 4 points.

Highgate teams contested more Grand Finals than any other Club and provided a wealth of talent for State representative teams in the formative years, and in one season, six players from the Club were chosen in the Western Australian Women's team


Highgate Coaches led the way with innovative coaching methods, many of which are still in widespread use throughout local basketball today, and in 1959, the Club pioneered the use of statistics in WA basketball through a system devised by the late Ron Matulich, demonstrating an early awareness of international trends within the game, and the value of this now universally - utilised and highly useful tool

Our first statistician was James (Jim) Gillam, who recorded statistics for the entire 1959 season.  

In 1963, Jim and Laura Gillam ran Western Australia's first basketball - specific shop and in 1964 the Club conducted the very first Junior Coaching Camp at Point Peron - this was the forerunner to the now regular, on - going Junior Camps conducted by most Clubs and Associations throughout the state.  

In 1970 the Highgate Men's team attended the Australian Club Championships in the Eastern States, thus becoming the first Western Australian Club to participate in what was to eventually become the National Basketball League (NBL) as we now know it.


The Highgate Basketball club was given the task of combining all of the Basketball Clubs in the East Perth Football Club's broad catchment area to form a 'District' Club in 1972. This organisation was initially known as the North Eastern Suburbs Basketball Association, or NESBA, but changed the name in 1975 to East Perth District Basketball Association to more accurately reflect the Club's origins and the area represented.

The Club pioneered the concept of 'foreign' players in the local 'District' competition in the early 1970's with the successful big and small man import combination that is now the vogue in most top - level basketball competitions in the country. The difference in this case however, was that neither of these foreign players were American: our 'big' man was a 6' 11" Italian Tony Tarotzi and our 'small' import was a 5' 11" Englishman Brian Cottrill.

The early to mid 1980's saw the Eagles extend their International recruiting to the women’s arena, with the arrival of two American imports.


Over the years the Club has provided many State players, Coaches, Referees and Manager / Manageress’s.  

On the International scene, Laura Gillam was our first international representative, attending the World Series in Prague, Czechoslovakia as Assistant Team Manager in 1966, whilst on the playing front we had Lyn Giles in the late 1970's.

Prior to Australian Women's teams actually undertaking tours to compete in international tournaments, Jaqui Cooley and Lorraine Moreton were selected in Australian 'paper' teams.

Later, Eric Watterson was selected in the national Under 20 team whilst on an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship.

One of our graduates to the International arena, was Adrian Majstrovich, who attended the Australian Institute of Sport, played a pivotal role in Australia's success in the 1998 Men’s Under 20 World Championships held in Germany, and went on to play basketball in the National Basketball League, New Zealand and Europe.

Robbie Cross a former member of the East Perth Eagles Men's team represented WA at Under 16 and Under 18 level. Robbie also attended "All-Australian" camps due to his success in the ITC squad.  

2008 SBL Players who have represented the State in Junior Championships include amongst others Jarrod Balcombe, Nathan Friend and Nikola Donlagic. 

In 2009 Oliver Sherratt from the Under 16 Men’s team was selected in the Under 16 Metro Team that toured to Tasmania in July 2009 to compete in the Australian Junior Championships. Under 13 WABL Players Gregg Osrin and Caleb Jones were selected for the State Primary School Team that toured to Newcastle in August 2009. Shani Webb andSamantha Toomath from the Australian Central Eagles were selected to represent Western Australia in the School Sport Australia Championship for 18 years and under. EPDBA is equally pleased that Eagles teammate Emily Fletcher has been named as a Reserve.


As an indication of the immense impact Highgate / East Perth people have had on Western Australian basketball, six of the first 15 Life Members of the Western Australian Basketball Federation, were from the Club.

Life Members inducted include Jim Gillam, Laura Gillam, Ron Matulich, George Adams, Alec Calander, Bob Kidner and Brian Spurge.

Basketball WA also presents the Gillam Trophy, which was donated by the Gillam Family in 1974, in recognition of the Champion Association in the WABL competition.   As points are awarded for the number of teams entered, finals representation and premierships in the competition and are deducted for forfeits or team withdrawals during the season, the Champion Association is often the organisation that does the most for the game of basketball during the season.

The Gillam Family are still represented at East Perth through Lynette Gillam, Director of Basketball and Gary Gillam (SBL Statistician).


The Highgate / East Perth influence is still felt throughout Western Australian basketball circles, with many of our ex - members still being actively involved with many of the local Associations, WABL and SBL teams to this day.

The last Championship success was 1988 when the Men beat Wanneroo Wolves. Since the formation of the State Basketball League in 1989 the Eagles have not achieved a Championship in either the Men or Women.

Many players in the early Perth Wildcats teams (then known as the 'Westate' Wildcats) were from East Perth, the most notable being Eric Watterson who played over 300 NBL Games.

Other Wildcats include:

  • Neville Robb
  • Ian Satie
  • Adrian Majstrovich
  • Justin Brown, who was SBL MVP for 2006 season
  • Tom Garlepp, who was an East Perth junior
  • Jarrod Balcombe, who became a Development player for the Wildcats in 2010
  • Drew Williamson, Wildcats 3 point shooting swingman 2010 to 2012 
  • Tom Jervis, Rookie season 2013

In 2009 former Perth Wildcats player Adam Caporn became the Head Coach for the Club's Men's SBL team Australian Central Eagles.  The Club also recruited current Perth Wildcats (and Australian Boomer) Stephen Weigh as well as former NBL Veteran Ben Thompson for the 2009 Season.  Former junior Tom Jervis returned to the club from US College Troy University.  In the Women's SBL Team the club recruited Kelsey Maffin and Faye Muller bith former US College players as well as late in the season recruit Carly Wilson (Former WNBL Player including Lynx and Australian Opal) who returned from the European Leagues.  

The club has also been home to some of the best Americans to come to WA; Steve Williams, Craig 'CJ' Jackson, Dan Hunt, Vince Kelley and John Culbertson to name a few. 

The Eagles are a founder member of Basketball WA's State Basketball League (SBL), which is recognised as one of the Premier leagues in Australian Basketball.

Highlights from 2010.......

Wildcats championship-winning centre Paul Rogers makes comeback to basketball with State league club East Perth. Rogers assisted the development of fellow 7 footers in youngster Tom Jervis and Sam Harris, who briefly replaced the former Boomers centre on the Wildcats' list late 2009/2010 season. 

Current Perth Lynx Player Samantha Norwood played for the Australian Central Eagles in the 2010 Women’s State Basketball League (WSBL) Season. 

East Perth Eagles Under 16 Men have won the 2010 Cockburn Cougar Classic for their age group. This win follows similar successes in the 2009 Cougar Classic and Summer Classic. 

East Perth Eagles Under 14 Men were Runners Up at the 2010 Cockburn Cougar Classic for their age group. 

Brendan Dinardo, Roland Oates and Sam Garrett were selected for the Under 16 State Team and Keanu Pinder was selected as one of the Reserves for the team.


The Australian Central Eagles had both teams in the Quarter Finals with the Women finishing fifth and the Men eighth.  The last time both teams made the finals was back in 1989.    The last finals appearance for the Women was in 1989 when they finished fourth.  The team made it through to the Semi Finals where they lost to the eventual Runners Up Perry Lake Hawks.  The Men last made the finals in 1998 when they finished seventh and unfortunately lost their quarter final.  Both teams lost their 2010 quarter finals.  

One of East Perth's junior developed players and current SBL Players' Jarrod Balcombe signed with the Perth Wildcats as one of its three development players.

Joint Most Valuable Player – Samantha Norwood and Ashley Gilmore

Community Newspapers Coaches Award – Bindi Foote
Development Player of the Year Award - Stephanie Byrde 

Most Valuable Player –Tom Jervis

Runner Up MVP – Stephen Weigh 

Community Newspapers Coaches Award – Andrew McLennan
Development Player of the Year Award - Austin Kisselev 

Joint MVP winner, Samantha Norwood, also made the 2010 WSBL All-Star 5 team. 

Appointed fomer WNBL Perth Lynx Player and current SBL Player, Liz Cooke as EPDBA Operations Manager. The role of Operations Manager involves amongst other duties a focus on administration and development. 

Appointed two very experienced development coaches. Former SBL player Steve Williams was announced as the Head of Junior Coaching and Development and former Rockingham Flames SBL coach Adam Forde as the Junior Development Officer. 


In WABL the Under 14 Men unfortunately lost their Semi Final against Rockingham Flames 48 - 67 resulting in their elimination from the finals.  The Flames went on to win the Grand Final against Willetton Tigers 67 - 56.

The Under 16 Men lost their Elimination Final against Perry Lakes Hawks 76 to 86 resulting in their elimination from the finals for 2010. 

The Under 18/1 Men also lost their Elimination Final against Perry Lakes Hawks 59 to 71 resulting in their elimination from the finals.  

The Under 18/2 Men lost their Elimination Final against third placed Stirling Senators 62 to 68 resulting in their elimination from the finals. 

East Perth Eagles players who made the 2010 Western Australia Basketball League (WABL) All Star Team for their respective divisions: Kye Bonser (Under 12 Boys); Rhys Mackean (Under 14 Boys);  Ryan Cockman (Under 15 Boys);  Bronte McGregor (Under 15 Girls); and Nicole Jorre De St Jorre (D-League Women).  

East Perth Eagles’ Nicole Jorre De St Jorre also won the Most Valuable Player for the Women's D-League.  
East Perth Eagles' Darren Nicholson was the Referee for the 2010 WABL D-League Women Grand Final.


The Under 14 Boys attended the 2010 Australian U14 Boys Club Championships held in Belconnen, ACT starting 27 September 2010.    The East Perth Eagles gave a good account of themselves and played with great spirit. A couple of the games could have gone in their favour but all in all it was a great experience for our boys.  Congratulations to Andre Donlagic; Benjamin Ognenis; Caleb Jones; Gregg Osrin;  Mitchell Robb, Nathan Sparks;  Nicholas Moulton;  Rhys Mackean; Shaun Mackean and Head coach Neville Robb and Assistant Coach Anthony Sparks. 


The 2010 East Perth Eagles Under 16 Boys team has won the 17's Men Carnival held at Willetton over the weekend 9 - 10 October 2010. 

The following East Perth Eagles players were invited to attend the Basketball WA Under 12 Shooting Stars Jamboree in January 2011.  Kieran Berry; Hamish Warden; Kye Bonser; and Jack Hanson.

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