Kilsyth Basketball are pleased to announce that their four senior men and women’s coaches will be back next year, with Rod Popp, Sam Woosnam, Peter Godfrey and Ed Dunstan all committing to coach in 2015.

“We’re thrilled to have Sam, Rod, Pete and Ed back for another go around,” said Kilsyth Basketball President Malcolm Allison. “They have embraced our new ‘homegrown’ direction and achieved tremendous results with the majority of their players having played junior basketball at the club.”

In his debut SEABL season, Popp led the Swinburne Cobras to the South Conference championship game, falling one shot short of a national championship berth. With just three players over the age of 24 and a roster made up of home grown talent, the Cobras defied the odds in 2014, with most predicting them to finish with one of the league’s worst records.

Popp’s defence-first mentality turned the Cobras into the SEABL’s best defensive team, holding opponents to just 75.7 points per game. On the other end, their free flowing motion offence turned them into one of the leagues most exciting teams, resulting in career years for big-men Tim Lang and Auryn Macmillan. Their team success also led to individual accolades, with Lang finishing fifth in SEABL MVP voting, while Kyle Adnam was named Australian Youth Player of the Year and Joel Naburgs earned a spot on the All-SEABL team.

With the foundation now set for the men’s senior program, the future is incredibly bright for the Cobras. An additional year of experience and maturity should see Popp’s men well positioned to go one game further in 2015.

Another rookie SEABL coach had tremendous success in year one, with Sam Woosnam leading the Lady Cobras back to the postseason with a 15-9 regular season record. Despite the addition of several new faces, Woosnam was able to get her team to gel quickly, with the Lady Cobras racing out to a 6-0 start at home and 10-3 mark overall. Three of those new faces – Rosie Moult, Louella Tomlinson and import Yvonne Anderson – had big debut seasons; with Anderson finishing sixth in MVP voting while Moult and Tomlinson secured WNBL deals for the 2014-15 season with the Melbourne Boomers and West Coast Waves, respectively. Veteran leader Sarah Parsons’ was also a big contributor in Woosnam’s system, with the 11-year forward posting her best numbers since 2010.

Woosnam’s first year efforts did not go unnoticed by the league, with the three-time WNBL champion earning Coach of the Month honours in April and finishing third in the Women’s Coach of the Year race. She will pass that knowledge down into the junior ranks, assuming the role of lead coach for the under 16’s, 18’s, and 20’s women for 2015. With success at the top and new guidance over the next generation of female Cobras, the women’s program is in good hands with Woosnam at the helm.

After serving as a longtime SEABL assistant, Peter Godfrey took the reigns of the VYC men in 2014 and took the league by storm. With just four returners from the 2013 championship winning team, Godfrey led an inexperienced group to the league’s best home record (10-1) and overall record (19-3), securing three home finals in the 2014 postseason. Their success was thanks large in part to a fearsome defence, which held teams to a league-best 62.3 points per game, helping the Cobras win by an average of 17.6 points an outing.

While they fell short in the championship game, the season was an overwhelming success from both an individual and team standpoint. Adrian Tomada won the VYC Rookie of the Year award and was a member of the All-VYC team, Ben Ursich was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, and Kieran Murphy was a nominee for the All-VYC team. The Cobras spectacular season also paid dividends for Godfrey, as the two-time Coach of the Month was the recipient of the VYC Men’s Coach of the Year award. With the majority of this year’s team expected to return in 2015, they will likely enter the new season as championship favourites.

Ed Dunstan enters his ninth season as the VYC women’s head coach, looking to improve on what was a disruptive 2014 season. With a slew of injuries and a predominantly under 18’s roster, Dunstan’s team was unable to maintain a strong start that had them in the playoff mix early in the season. Then-leading scorer Jenna Verhoef-Jenkins suffered a season-ending knee injury 10 games into the season, leaving the Cobras without their most experienced guard. 

With a returning core, a fully healthy roster and an extra year of experience, Dunstan’s group should push for a top-four finish in 2015.

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