Basketball fans crowd around Rockhampton Cyclones player Nicole Michael. The city would loved to have been able to back its own national team as well.
Basketball fans crowd around Rockhampton Cyclones player Nicole Michael. The city would loved to have been able to back its own national team as well. Allan Reinikka ROK290815acyclone

Junior sports stars to miss out after Rocky team bid snubbed

4.30pm: CYCLONES co-captain Alexandra Brady said it's disappointing the organisation haven't given a helping hand to budding regional sports stars.

Ms Brady moved from Rockhampton to Townsville at just 17, signed as a development player with the Townsville Fire.

She said there were already many obstacles for young players wanting to pursue a professional career in any code and a national team could make that transition smoother.

Cyclones player Alex Brady in the game against Toowoomba at Hegvold Stadium.  Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin.
Cyclones player Alex Brady in the game against Toowoomba at Hegvold Stadium. Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin. Chris Ison ROK180512ccyclones6

"I really think it's disappointing for the region to not have that opportunity,” Ms Brady said.

"The biggest thing I see with having a local national team is those pathways for juniors to develop, and to do that at home.

"I think one of the biggest challenges for me was moving away from home just after finishing high school to follow that. So I think that's where our juniors will miss out.”

"What happens when you have a professional team in town is then you attract some really great coaches and you get some really great players and they offer so much knowledge to our home association, so then we see our local club reap the benefits of that.

"It is disappointing Basketball Australia haven't come on board to help a regional area out.”

11AM: ROCKHAMPTON won't feature on the national sporting stage, with the bid for a local team to join the Women's National Basketball League rejected.

It was an outcome which shocked and angered councillors, with Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow describing the move to look for more teams in metropolitan areas as discrimination.

An email from Basketball Australia was tabled in this morning's full council meeting, outlining the organisation's decision not to proceed with the Rockhampton Ravens bid.

The bid was a joint venture between council, CQUniversity and Rockhampton Basketball.

The email states the organisation feels there is only room for a maximum of 10 teams.

"The WNBL Committee considered our current representation of regionally based teams and what the addition of another regional team would mean to our overall mix (i.e. regional and metropolitan) and the opportunity cost in terms of presence and reach in larger population centres,” the email read.

"The consideration took into account such factors as best mix for media coverage nationally, national sponsors, broadcast, internationally based players etc.

"Unfortunately the conclusion was (is) that Rockhampton does not represent a fit for the growth strategy.”

Council had previously agreed to consider sponsorship of up to $100,000 a year for five years for the Rockhampton Ravens to enter the competition.

The mood in the council chambers was one of frustration, as Cr Strelow said it was a clear case of regions being neglected.

She said the fact that so much praise was heaped on the submission, yet the bid was rejected, was "an incredible indictment” on basketball.

While Cr Strelow said council had already made clear they would not be continuing to make bids for years on end, they were keen to see some sort of national team - even if it meant converting to AFL.

"Rockhampton is keen for a national sporting team,” she said.

"I am very keen to have a team we can get behind.”

Cr Strelow said Rockhampton would spend more money than most councils in a bid to encourage sport in the region, "yet we are constantly denied the chance to have our own team playing at a national level”.

Councillor Cherie Rutherford described it as a "sad state of affairs” and said it was indicative of a wider move away from grassroots sporting clubs in all sports.

"This is exactly what's wrong with sport in Australia at the moment,” she said.

"This is the attitude and it's not just basketball.”

Councillor Ellen Smith said it was "an insult to regional areas”, especially given the sporting glory of athletes from the regions at state, national, and international events.

The Morning Bulletin has approached Basketball Australia for comment.



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