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Breakers hope for big season

THE Ballina Breakers senior men’s basketball team will take their first steps towards re-entry into the NSW State League when they start pre-season training on Friday night.

After a shortfall of sponsorship forced the team to sit out the 2009 season, excitement is building as Ballina’s best basketballers look to convert off-court enthusiasm into on-court success.

Open scrimmages held over summer have been regularly attracting more than 20 players to the Breakers’ home court at Southern Cross K-12 School, including State and national age representatives.

Senior men’s coach Marty Smith is excited about what the season may have in store.

“It’s been really encouraging for us to see so many blokes coming out to our open courts and having a strong run,” he said.

“The scrimmages have been competitive right from the start and I think that everyone realises spots in our squad will be at a pre-mium this year.”

The Breakers will look to build on their base of promising young players with big things expected from outstanding juniors Adrian Van Eck, Jaryd Macarthy and NSW Under-18 squad member Chris McIllhatton.

In his third season in the State League, former Ballina junior Dario Streble is another earmarked for big things this year.

“Dario is a rare talent,” Smith said.

“He has the potential to create mis-matches at both ends of the court as he has the size and presence of an inside player yet also the speed, agility and range on his shot to be a per-imeter threat.”

The State League launch is in March.

The Breakers have a full pre-season schedule of on-court and off-court cross training.

“This is squad has shown over the summer it has a real desire to work hard,” Smith said.

“It’s the coaches’ job to harness this desire and work ethic and convert it into success.”

Last chance for women

A FINAL muster night for women interested in playing State League basketball for the Ballina Breakers this year will be held next Wednesday at the Southern Cross K-12 School gymnasium from 6pm.

Although interest was high during the 2009 Ballina A-grade women’s season, numbers to previous musters late last year were disappointing and next Wednesday is the last chance to form a team.

The State League season goes from March through to the finals in August.

Games are played on a home-and-away basis with teams split into geographical conferences. This year Ballina will play against teams from Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Armidale.

Inquiries to Jason Bashforth on 0429-304341 or Eva Ramsey on 0428-874346.