18 September 2023
As the excitement of another successful season for Gippsland United’s representative teams draws to a close, work off the court has been continuing to ensure that this success is built on and the program continues to be sustainable well into the future.
Stand-alone ‘Elite Pathways’ can struggle at times to maintain operations and finances, so following an in-depth review of the player pathway in Gippsland (in 2021), a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) was developed between the Combined Gippsland Basketball Association (CGBA) and Traralgon Amateur Basketball Association (TABA). The CGBA was competing as Latrobe Energy, and had recently withdrawn from the senior ‘Big V’ State League, leaving Gippsland as the only region in Victoria that did not have an elite senior team pathway.
Basketball Victoria, in conjunction with the Latrobe Valley Authority, developed a project in 2020 to thoroughly review basketball pathways in Gippsland and establish the JVA. This review was undertaken by GippSport and included exhaustive consultation and stakeholder engagement. Several recommendations were developed, and an implementation plan was put in place to return a senior pathway to Gippsland.
The JVA saw the creation of ‘Gippsland United’, which now operates junior teams in the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) and a Senior Men’s and Women’s team in ‘Big V’. The Joint Venture had an immediate impact on the court, with a Men’s Division 2 Championship in 2022 and a promotion to Division 1 for 2023, and the Women won the Division 2 Championship this year and a promotion to Big V Division 1 for 2024.
As the program grows with on court success, the same is needed off the court to ensure sustainability, future growth, and the ability to take advantage of opportunities and partnerships with local Gippsland associations.
When developing the JVA, future options and opportunities were planned for and considered. Therefore, to ensure the program remains strong, and has the capacity to develop, it has been agreed that the governance and the operations of Gippsland United will be transferred to the Traralgon Amateur Basketball Association (TABA). This will see TABA lead and solely operate the junior and senior representative teams’ pathway into Basketball Victoria’s State League competitions.
Basketball Victoria’s General Manager, Member and Community Services – David Huxtable, is appreciative of the hard work done so far and is optimistic for greater pathway success in the Gippsland region.
“It is important to recognise all who have been involved in developing Gippsland United to where it is, and the opportunities provided for local basketballers to have a secure, elite pathway.”
“Through this project, it was clear that people wanted a visible, local pathway to be available, so we need to make sure that this can be delivered on now and into the future. TABA has a strong history of delivering outcomes, it is great to see them ensure Gippsland United offers athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and administrators from anywhere in Gippsland the opportunity to go further.”
Huxtable continued to praise the early success of the pathways, acknowledged the full community effort to raise the bar, but knows there needs to be future collaboration to cement the strength of the program.
“We thank the many people involved in delivering the program so far, from coaches to Committees/Boards, sponsors and partners, parents, family, friends, administrators, volunteers and the community in general.
The association-based model of delivering an elite pathway has continuously been demonstrated as the most successful way to making those pathways sustainable, no matter what the sport. We encourage all associations in Gippsland to appreciate the history, look to the future and be involved as best they can.”
Planning for 2024 has already commenced.
Copyright 2024 Gippsland United