Basketball lures football player

JOEL Mirtschin drives the two-hour round trip from his home in Portland to Warrnambool twice a week for basketball training.

Seahawks player Joel Mirtschin makes the round trip from Portland to Warrnambool twice a week for training.

Seahawks player Joel Mirtschin makes the round trip from Portland to Warrnambool twice a week for training.

The Seahawks recruit joined the Big V outfit in the off-season after his CBL campaign with Portland Coasters left him craving more basketball rather than another football season. 

“It was something I had to weigh up,” he said of the travel factor.

“Before I made the choice to come over I knew what was involved and the effort, but it’s not hard to do when you’re enjoying it.”

Mirtschin, 19, played football for Portland Tigers in the Hampden league last season.

But the lure of a higher standard of basketball and the chance to play the sport year-round encouraged him to commitment to a Big V pre-season.

“It was a tough decision to come over,” Mirtschin said. 

“I wasn’t getting into footy as much and wasn’t ready for basketball to finish this year so I came over for training and I said to Bobby to get a spot was a bonus.

“It’s taking a while to adjust and I am still adjusting.

“I am learning every game, learning the processes and Bobby is giving me plenty of opportunities to prove myself.

“I am enjoying that.”

The guard made his Big V debut in round one and has hit the floor in each of the fifth-placed Seahawks’ five games. Mirtschin is averaging a tick over 13 minutes a game, using his strong 190-centimetre frame to make his mark defensively. 

“Off the bench and being a defensive presence and playing defence as hard as I can and when I am open to hit the open shot, that is my role,” he said. 

“If it takes me sitting on the bench to give someone else more time, that’s fine.

“Bobby is fair. If you’re out on the court and doing everything you were asked to do you’ll stay on court and if you make mistakes, you’re on the bench.

“The group is fantastic and we have a good spread of players.

“I think we have every chance to go as far as we want to.”

Mirtschin, who battled knee problems when he was younger, said he had settled in well with his new team.

Warrnambool’s first double-header of the season is split between home and away this weekend.

The Seahawks host Sunbury Jets at 7pm on Saturday night at the Arc and play Chelsea Gulls away noon on Sunday.justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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