Melbourne Boomers has fought through and become stronger than ever; new ownership by a passionate experienced group, Australia’s best women’s basketball Lauren Jackson on board and new membership incentives to help grassroots basketballers participate in the action of the WNBL. So play your part and join the Melbourne Boomers family now!
The last few months have been a rollercoaster of emotion and uncertainty at the Melbourne Boomers, and although the ride is far from over, according to General Manager Justin Nelson, “the best bits are just around the corner.”
And we need your support now as we move into an exciting new phase of our rich and long history.
In January, Bulleen Basketball decided to hand back its license to compete in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and after facing the possibility of becoming extinct, Justin along with coach Guy Molloy were determined to find new custodians.
To their delight, the search was successful.
So what happened? Early in 2016, with the 15/16 WNBL season still in progress, we didn’t know if the Boomers would survive past February, but a chance meeting with Tony Hallam changed all of that.
Tony’s daughters play basketball and after hearing about the Boomers’ plight, he reached out for a chat.
It’s a conversation that still resonates.
“Right from the start Tony spoke about how people emphasise the need to support women’s sport, but who is actually following through, stepping up and doing something about it?
“I saw a glimmer of hope in the future of the Melbourne Boomers that day; he got it. Tony understood the importance of the basketball community and the vital roles both grassroots and the elite levels need to play in supporting all the associations and clubs,” said Justin.
Tony also recalls hearing the potential demise of the Boomers like it was yesterday and how it made him feel.
“I remember when I read the article about the Boomers possibly exiting the league after thirty-two years and it really hit home that if this was a men’s team everyone would be out there rattling the tins.
“I then met the players and saw them as athletes and role models, the way they communicated with the fans, their fierce competitiveness – I immediately thought this club had to continue.” said Hallam.
Actions speak louder than words and led by Tony Hallam (Chair of Etihad Stadium), a new consortium got together, all sharing a passion for women’s sport and in particular basketball – they bounced in, came to the rescue and joined the Boomers family.
The deal maker was the authentic ‘family feel and message’ the Boomers live and breathe, the great role models they are for our young girls and the genuine connection between grassroots with the elite.
With a new ownership in place the search for like-minded groups quickly extended and support was garnered from key stakeholders, including Basketball Victoria and Basketball Australia. To their credit, custodians of 32 years Bulleen, also stepped up and ensured the change of ownership included a level of support.
What happened next was an analysis of the club and the league.
The review highlighted two key facts:
The analysis also confirmed new ownership only presented half of the solution. The other key part to success and sustainability sits firmly with the basketball community and its desire to step up and support the iconic club.
“We can’t do this without Melbourne’s basketball community becoming members and supporters of the Melbourne Boomers.”
“Today’s young girls playing the game are tomorrow’s Boomers. They’re future Opals, future stars of the WNBL. We’re in this together and we’re all responsible for making sure Australia’s strength in women’s basketball continues.”
“Tony leads a committed group and they bring a vision that instantly resonated with both Guy and myself. Every one of our players has come from the grassroots level, they are all examples of how strong our junior ranks in Melbourne are,” Justin explains.
With the immediate future of the Boomers in place, Guy is now busy doing what he does best.
“I’m really pleased we are preparing for the coming season, because I honestly didn’t know if we’d get to this point,” says Guy.
“Justin, Tony and the board are working hard at what they do, and I’m working towards finalising our team. The feeling amongst the group is really positive, we’re all thankful to be here and representing Melbourne. The players are jumping out of their skin; it’s a really good feeling.
“Our upcoming development player tryouts will attract plenty of young talent. We’re expecting more than 50 players, all vying for potentially six or seven spots. It’s an exciting time for them, and for us. I’m really thankful that there is a future in place for them.”
Despite the exciting announcements of late, which include the recruitment of Australia’s greatest ever (women’s) basketballer Lauren Jackson to the front office, Justin says the success of Melbourne’s WNBL club will now depend on the support shown by the community.
“A lot of people talk about supporting women’s sport, but who is stepping up and doing something about it? If we want a successful WNBL team for season 33 and beyond we can have it, but there’s no shortcuts; we can’t talk the talk and not walk the walk,” said Justin.
“The easiest way to truly support the Melbourne Boomers and create a pathway for our young aspiring girls in basketball is to join the Boomers family; buy a membership, get to games, purchase merchandise and wear the brand with pride. Don’t just talk about supporting us, be a part of us.”
When you ask Tony how the basketball community can get involved with the Boomers, Tony also emphasises the importance of supporters becoming members.
“If you support women’s basketball, or any sport for that matter, buy a membership and get to games. If you want to see women excel in sport, and your children to connect with positive, healthy and engaging role models, join the Boomers family. You won’t be disappointed,” Tony stated.
Memberships for the Deakin Melbourne Boomers start from $20 and go on sale from July 1, with three incentives for those who join:
1. Anyone purchasing a membership during July will receive a special invitation to meet Lauren Jackson in an exclusive pre-game function.
2. Anyone purchasing a membership before September 15 will have their name included on the #WeAreFamily decal that will be placed on the Boomers home court at the State Basketball Centre.
3. All full season memberships include an exclusive Season 33 Member t-shirt.
To join the Boomers family, go to www.trybooking.com/BOOMERS.