Mermaids resurface for CBL tilt, with eye on 2015 Big V return

WARRNAMBOOL Mermaids’ revival has taken its first step.

Katie O’Keefe: eager.Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Katie O’Keefe: eager.Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

The Mermaids will play in the Country Basketball League this summer as they attempt a return to Big V ranks.

The south-west-based competition will be used to gauge interest — on and off the court — in re-entering a Mermaids team in the statewide Big V league next year.

Warrnambool withdrew its women’s team from the 2014 Big V competition a month before the season, blaming a lack of numbers.

It came after the Mermaids — division one champions in 2011 and 2012 — pulled out of the 2013 season, only to enter a division two team at the last minute.

Two-time Mermaids championship player Katie O’Keefe is eager to see the team represented at Big V level again.

She will coach the Mermaids’ CBL team this season and has already built a 14-player roster, which includes championship-winning guards Renee Tuck and Carly Pulling.

“It is good to see the girls’ program back,” she said.

“If we start small we might be able to get Mermaids (in the Big V) again.

“I have missed basketball watching my husband (Simon) play for the last eight months.”

O’Keefe, who would love to play Big V again, said her goal was to get the Mermaids back in top-flight competition.

“I’d love to have them back in division one,” she said.

O’Keefe said there had been interest in re-establishing the Mermaids for the 2015 Big V season, but they would need to meet off-court requirements.

“We have to get people to join the committee and have off-court involvement,” she said.

“I have said I will help where I can.”

The CBL is yet to announce its 2014-15 draw. O’Keefe said the Mermaids would start training at the end of August.

“It is pretty cruisy by the looks of it,” she said of the CBL women’s competition.

“Last season they had six games but hopefully we’ll get a few more.”

Warrnambool has entered a men’s CBL team and will again use the competition as a development base for its promising Big V players.

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