Coaches announced for Big V Origin All Star series

Four of the Big V’s top coaches have been announced as the coaches for the second Big V Origin All Star series.

Metro and Country teams will do battle in both men’s and women’s games on 10 June at Casey Indoor Leisure Centre, in what’s one of the biggest days of the Big V calendar.

Last year’s successful series was held in Shepparton, with Metro winning the overall trophy on aggregate.

On the men’s side, Big V division 1 coaches’ Paul Lankford and Matt Alexander will take charge of the Metro and Country sides respectively.

The country side won last year’s game, 82-74.

Last year’s division 1 men’s coach of the year, Lankford said he was honoured to be selected after his side’s results the last couple of years.

The Vikings won 21 straight games last season were some bad luck in the finals.

He said he didn’t know what to expect with the game, but was looking forward to it.

“I’m not sure whether everyone will want to kill each other like in NRL state of origin or more like an NBA All-Star weekend and trying to have fun.”

Lankford said he was keen to get a look at the metro side and hoped it would be a strong line up.

“Hopefully being in Melbourne some of the better players will make themselves available to play. Fingers crossed some of the younger kids can play and have a good account of themselves in the game.

“Hopefully we can turn our fortunes around and get the win this year.”

For Alexander being asked to coach the country side is special.

Before he spent time at five National Basketball League clubs and represented Australia at under-21 and under 23 level, he was part of the junior country set up.

“It’s fantastic to be involved,” he said. “The goal for the country side was always to beat Vic Metro.

“The last time I was involved with country was when I played for the Vic Country under-18 team at the national titles in 1990.

“That’s the only under-18 Vic Country boys’ team to win a national title.”

Alexander, who coached the Seahawks to the division 1 championship last season in his first season as coach, said his determination to beat metro hadn’t diminished.

“I really don’t know which players we’ll have, but obviously winning is the main objective.

“I want the guys to have a fun night and enjoy themselves.”

The women’s Metro side will be coached by Eltham’s state championship women’s  coach Katrina Hibbert. Bendigo’s Victorian Youth Championship women’s coach Megan Moody will coach the women’s country side.

Last year, Metro defeated Country 82-69.

Hibbert said while it will be a fun weekend, her competitive spirit means she’s determined to keep Metro’s winning streak alive.

The former Australian player said a weekend like this gave some players more opportunities than they may get with their Big V side.

“It was nice to be asked to be head coach,” said Hibbert, who was state championship coach of the year after taking Hume City Broncos to the title last year.

“It can be difficult to get players to play being people know it’s a weekend off, but it can give others a chance.

“Someone like Rebecca Romeo [who captained the women’s metro team last year] who didn’t get a lot of minutes being in a top side got a chance.

“They put in the same hours and time commitment as everyone else.

“Hopefully some of the top tier players have freed up time to play. We’ll be trying to go out there and hold onto the winning record.”

Moody is the only youth league coach to be selected as a head coach. Having gone up to Shepparton to watch the games last season, she said she was keen to be involved.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “It was a really good weekend with some fun games.

“There is fierce competition between country and metro with kids. When it’s senior level people move around and it’s no longer metro and country with the paths sort of blurring.

“It’s great rivalry and good to see it at senior level.”

Moody, who actually played for Metro as a junior before moving to the country, said it was great that youth league players and coaches had the opportunity to be part of the sides.

“There’s a great talent pool and the youth leagues competitions are fantastic.”

The teams will be announced in the coming weeks.

The teams are selected on the where a player is born within Australia or the current club they represent as an unrestricted player in the competition.

As well as the two matches, there’s a dunk contest and three-point shoot out.

Tickets can be purchased at, https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=269677.

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