Warrnambool Basketball's Jenna Osborne is always on the ball

BUSY: Jenna Osborne's work as a basketball administrator includes co-ordinating the annual Junior Basketball Classic. Picture: Christine Ansorge
BUSY: Jenna Osborne's work as a basketball administrator includes co-ordinating the annual Junior Basketball Classic. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Jenna, what are your memories of that 2008 flag victory with Russells Creek’s B Grade side?

I played as the goalkeeper. We defeated East Warrnambool in a close tussle to win the flag. It was great to play in the premiership side with so many of my friends.

We tried to keep the side together for 2009 and 2010 seasons, but we lost the preliminary final in 2009 and just scrapped into the finals in 2010 before getting knocked out.

Did you play with Russells Creek in 2011?

I had sustained a back injury. I ended up only playing seven games in 2011 and was advised not to play in 2012 because of my back problems.

I didn’t want to have an operation, so the doctors told me to rest. I had started teaching at St Pius, so I wanted to concentrate on my career.

I came back and played a handful of games in the middle of 2013 but I knew my career was over. I could not complain, I had played netball from a young age.

I started playing with Merrivale’s 15 and under side. I ended up playing A grade netball with Merrivale when I was 15. Hayley Kelson was the coach.

I left Merrivale after a couple of seasons to play netball with some friends at Russells Creek.

My mum Helen had been involved with Russells Creek, so it was pretty easy for me to make the switch from Merrivale.

Jenna, had you any ambitions to be a netball coach?

I’ve had a stint coaching. It was back in 2005 when I coached Creeks 15 and under reserves side.

We made the finals. I coached netball for a few years before I got involved with basketball.

How did the involvement with basketball come about?

My brother Liam wanted to play basketball in the under 12 squad with the Warrnambool Basketball Association.

Mum really didn’t want him to go to the tryouts, which were all over the place, so I took him. After a while mum jumped on board.

We took Liam to places like Millicent, Geelong, Mount Gambier. Liam worked his way through the grades and now as an 18-year-old plays for the Seahawks.

I was approached to be on the Warrnambool Junior Basketball committee in 2010 and I accepted the role, which saw me being involved in basketball squad administration.

We had 12 different teams which I had to enter in various tournaments all over the state.

I’m still on that committee today and do the same job, but in 2011 I was asked to be the tournament director for the Warrnambool Junior Basketball Seaside Classic and I took on the job.

What does that job entail?

The Junior Basketball Classic takes place over a weekend in October.

My job is to co-ordinate the whole weekend with the assistance of other committee members.

I have to organise venue bookings, entries, fixtures, results and get volunteers to help out for the weekend.

The Junior Basketball Classic has been going for more than 30 years and involves girls and boys from the ages of under 12 to under 18 – this year we’re introducing a under 20 competition.

The Junior Basketball Classic is a huge windfall for Warrnambool. We have teams from all over the place  including Millicent, Mount Gambier, Portland, Maryborough, Castlemaine and the Bellarine Peninsula taking part in the event.

As I said, it’s a huge windfall for Warrnambool as there are so many young people playing.

They have to be driven to Warrnambool by their parents and of course they all need accommodation and meals, plus once they get here they spend more money at the shops.

It all generates big financial spin-offs for Warrnambool and the district.

Have you any other involvement in basketball?

I’m also on the committee for the Seahawks-Mermaids.

Jacob Sobey is the president. We’ve got six people on the committee.

We answer to the peak body for basketball in Warrnambool which is Warrnambool Basketball Incorporated, and last year I took over as the secretary of that group.

Being heavily involved in basketball in Warrnambool, how is the sport travelling here?

Overall, it’s going pretty good. The Mermaids finished on top so they had the week off.

They have had a tremendous season, while the Seahawks defeated Latrobe City Energy on Saturday night and line up against Keilor Thunder in a preliminary final this week.

The numbers for junior basketball in Warrnambool are really healthy. The Aussie Hoops squads, which are from under 8 to under 16, are very good.

The senior domestic competition for men and women, which is played during the week, could do with a few more numbers but the numbers often fluctuate.

I note with interest that you spent your primary school days out at St Pius and now you’re a teacher at the school. Did you note any big changes from your primary school days to teaching at the school?

It was really funny going back there as a teacher in the preps.

There were some teachers who had taught me still teaching there when I started as a teacher. I’ve been teaching there for seven years and I really love it.

Away from your involvement with local basketball, do you have any other sporting interests?

I’m a one-eyed Geelong fan. I’m an AFL member and I’ve been fortunate to have gone to 21 grand finals. Luckily for me I was there when the Cats won the flag in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and was there when we lost grand finals in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2008.

I don’t have to tell you which results were the best, not only for me but for all my family who are all passionate Geelong fans.