Penrith’s basketball blow

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Tahlia Tupaea in action for the Panthers WCL Women’s team in 2015. Photo: Noel Rowsell

Basketball in the local area could take a hit next year after the Penrith Basketball Association voted to not enter teams into the 2016 Waratah Championship League (WCL) competition.

A decision was made recently by the Penrith Basketball Association, its Board of Directors and Basketball NSW to not be represented in the WCL – a semi professional basketball league in NSW.

Speaking with the Weekender, Penrith Basketball Association Manager, Leonie Moore, blamed cost as one of the many factors for the tough decision.

“The Association is financially sound, however the costs associated with competing in the Championship Division per team were unrealistic for an amateur sport,” she said.

“This along with ever increasing demands for referees, statistics, bench officials, videoing and game announcing led to our decision.

“Many Associations continue to run at a substantial loss to compete in this division and Penrith did not feel this warranted for 2016.”

Penrith’s omission from next year’s competition is expected to have a big impact on a number of their most promising players including young Australian representative Tahlia Tupaea and rising men’s stars Ben Kearins and Nic Pozoglou.

Many players who started and honed their young careers at Penrith will now be forced to find other alternatives.

Dynamic point guard Ben Kearins will need to find a new home after the Penrith Basketball Association voted to not participate in the 2016 WCL competition. Photo: Noel Rowsell  (www.photoexcellence.com.au)
Dynamic point guard Ben Kearins will need to find a new home after the Penrith Basketball Association voted to not participate in the 2016 WCL competition. Photo: Noel Rowsell
(www.photoexcellence.com.au)

“Ben has been given our blessing to move to another Association if he desires. At present his focus is with the Sydney Kings for this season… He is a proud and very respected Penrith junior and we wish him well,” Ms Moore said.

“Tahlia will drop down a level and play Youth League and will look to lessen her burden in the 2016 WNBL off-season, while Nic’s plans are unknown.”

With Penrith out of the WCL for at least the 2016 season, focus will now shift to the Association’s Youth League Men’s and Women’s teams as well as their exciting junior program.

“It is a common thought throughout NSW that Youth League feature the most exciting games and players due to the athletic ability and passion for the game – Penrith will definitely present that to our members in 2016,” Ms Moore said.

“We feel a shift of focus for the future and enhancing the opportunities of and exposing our fantastic Youth and junior members is exciting and positive.”

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