Magic BigV Season Review 2009
Added 30 August 2009
Kevin Ng, Hawthorn Magic BigV Administrator
Season 2009 was a landmark year for the Hawthorn Magic in the BigV competition. Having entered senior mens and womens representative teams in the Victorian state league since 1986, Hawthorn Magic decided it was time to add an extra dimension to its senior program by introducing youth league teams. These two additional teams (Youth League Two Men and Youth League Women) served as development teams providing an opportunity for graduating Magic juniors to play at senior level whilst providing a smooth transition.
The offseaon saw many changes in the womens half of the program. Mike Funke replaced Andrew Nightingale as head coach and was supported by Nathan Arousi (Youth League Women coach) and his assistant Sophie Pidgeon. Magic veteran Emily Matheson was named as squad captain for the 2009 season. From the playing roster front, there was an influx of new talent including the addition of Gen Lillis from Waveley and Steph Lorenzini from Eltham who would play a pivotal role in the Division One side throughout the season. The Youth League team was predominantly made up of former Magic juniors.
The season couldn't have started any better for both teams as the Division One side got a road win at Warrandyte while the Youth League team thumped Ringwood at home. Unfortunately, the big win from the Youth League Women wasn't a sign of things to come. Despite strong performances from Steph Perch and Charlotte Ross-Harris (who gained an MVP nomination), they struggled through most of the season. A season ending back injury to starting point guard Sally Blaubaum didn't help their cause. They did however make a late charge to sneak a spot in the finals. Like the Youth League side, the Division One women stuttered mid season and needed a strong finish to the season to ensure they finished third to avoid a semi finals match up again the domanant Werribee Devils side. However, both teams failed to make it past the first hurdle in the postseason but none the less, it was a successful season given the magnitude of change for the 2009 season. Squad captain Emily Matheson and second year player Tash Ross-Harris were nominated for MVP honours.
2007 championship winning coach Glenn Rees once again led the Magic mens squad and was supported by his assistant Josh Hommelhoff. Cam Taylor was appointed as coach of the Youth League team and he was supported by Magic veteran Warren Staples who would take up the role of playing assistant coach. In the offseason, the Magic acquired a trio of veterans who were hungry for success in Luke Neison (Sandringham), Peter Hayman (Eltham) and Nick Dimitroff (Bulleen). Additionally, faces familiar to those around the traps at Hawthorn such as Kieran Baker, Jimmy Todd, Jerry Juric and Chris Shallue would return to form the future of the Magic. Magic stalwarts Jay Allen and Seb Belfrage would once again be the co-captains of the mens squad.
The season started with a bang at the preseason tournament at MSAC where the Youth League team took out the preseason title resulting in them being the hot favourites for the title. On paper, Glenn Rees had arguably the most talented squad ever seen at Hawthorn at his disposal but that didn't translate into victories as the team struggled to gel. However, once everything clicked into place, they rolled their way to 9 straight victories on their way to a third place finish. Their spectacular late season run was capitalised by a Luke Neison triple double in the final match of the regular season. Meanwhile, the Youth League team steamrolled their way through the season to finish top spot. Jerry Juric and Zac Barry led the way throughout the season and each gained an MVP nomination while Chris Shallue showed his worth with some big performances late in the season. The Division One side eliminated the Werribee Devils in front of a racous home crowd in the first week of the finals but would fall victim to the eventual champion Sunbury Jets.
Cam Taylor's Youth League squad would however convincingly defeat the Sunbury Jets in the qualifying final and then eliminate the Geelong Cats to secure a rematch with the Sunbury Jets in the grand final. The grand final series wasn't a smooth ride with the Jets upsetting the Magic in game one at the Boardman Stadium. The Magic would have to come from behind if they were to clinch the title and they would have to do that without their leading scorer Jerry Juric who was in Texas pursuing a college career. The Magic calmly levelled the series at 1 with a game two victory before returning the next day to finish the job in game 3, taking out the title 2-1 over the Jets. Zac Barry who had led the team all season in more ways than one was named as Finals MVP.
Season 2009 has been a massive success with the introduction of the youth league teams, all four teams making the finals and the Youth League Men team taking out the title. However, the success of the Magic program would not come into fruition without the help and support of everyone involved in the Magic program. A big thankyou goes out to everyone who has helped out with the Magic program this year!
Hope to see you at BSC next season when Hawthorn Magic BigV action returns for season 2010!
Grand Final photos courtesy of "5 Fingas" Fyffe and BigV Basketball.