Alex Gynes is on track for a round one playing return when the 2023 Big V season tips off in March.
Gynes, as well as reigning division one championship coach Lee Primmer, will return for another season at the helm of the Warrnambool Seahawks and Mermaids respectively.
Gynes, who ruptured his Achilles heel in April, is bullish about his squad's chances after missing finals this year. He said there was "light at the end of the tunnel" for the playing group.
"We had some really good wins last season, we pushed Bellarine who ended up taking it out," Gynes said. "We knocked off Shepparton who finished second. There is some really good signs, it's just a matter of finding our consistency. We'll definitely be in amongst it at the right end of the season."
Warrnambool Basketball general manager David Mills said both coaches were signed up for a multi-year stint to give them every opportunity to develop their groups.
"Now Lee's been able to fast-track that with a mix of experience and a very talented youth group, it's very exciting going forward," Mills said. "And Alex will look to replicate that as we explore all possibilities as far as recruiting goes. We'll see where that falls in the coming weeks and months."
With both teams exploring the idea of bringing in an import, Primmer said he was also talking to last season's Mermaids veterans about whether they would go again. But with a skilled group of teenagers helping the Mermaids win the championship this year, the program remains invested in the talent coming through the association's youth pathway.
"We have a philosophy to keep producing juniors and setting them up for whatever they want to do in life but by the same token give them something at a really good level to play at while they're still at school in Warrnambool," Primmer said.
The Seahawks and Mermaids will remain in division one for 2023, with a start date announced for the weekend of March 18-19. The women's competition moves from nine to 10 teams, with the Mermaids' grand final opponent Sherbrooke promoted to championship division.
Primmer said division one was the right place for his team.
"As good as we might have been this year, with the veterans (managed), you wouldn't be able to play in championship week-in, week-out," he said. "It's not sustainable to go up. Chelsea was by far the standout team (last year), they went up to championships and are now back in division one."
Meanwhile the men's structure decreases from 12 teams to 11 and features three new faces. Gynes said team movements added intrigue to the competition.
"There is a couple longer trips coming up for us next year," Gynes said. "We're in a really good spot in solidifying our spot in division one and we're looking forward to the challenge of playing those teams we haven't seen in couple years."
Expressions of interests for Big V tryouts are now open and will close December 9.
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