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A new fine Cotton affair

With names like Indy, Dash, Ryder, and Rio you just know the next generation of Australian basketball players have star quality.

Catchy titles aside, it’s their insane ability on the court which will come to the fore this week when the Basketball Australia Under 18 National Championships are held in Brisbane.

The titles, which will be live-streamed on KommunityTV, provide the ideal platform for hoops fans to get their first glimpse of the basketballers who will likely become the Boomers and Opals of the future and who are likely best placed to be leading Australia’s charge at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

Headlining the boy’s tournament is Indy Cotton, the former South Australian who now lives on the Gold Coast where his dad Jarrod is an assistant coach with the Gold Coast Suns.

A 192cm point guard Indy has already impressed against players much older and had already won Aussie gold medals at under 15 and under 16 level.

Joining Indy as a headline act at the tournament will be Vic Country’s Dash Daniels, the brother of NBA star Dyson Daniels and son of former US import Ricky Daniels who is a local basketball legend at the Bendigo Braves, where they have retired his jumper as a sign of respect.

Dash has also represented Australia at national level and will have NBL and NBA scouts keeping a close eye on him this week.

On the girls’ side of the draw the names may not be as glitzy but the talent definitely is.

Players to watch out for include Andie Smith (the younger sister of current Opals star Alanna), Emma Petrie (the daughter of former NBL journeyman Anthony), South Australian young gun Keira Gardiner and the Australian Junior Indigenous Athlete of the Year Jessie-May Hall from New South Wales.

But it’s not just basketball stars who are set to dominate the courts this week.

Future Diamonds unearthed

While Brisbane is hosting the under 18 basketball championships, the Melbourne suburb of Frankston will this week play host to the nation’s best under 17 and under 19 netballers who will be competing in their national titles.

Being streamed live for the first time on KommunityTV, the National Netball Championships will feature outstanding talent from all states and territories across six days of scintillating action.

These teenagers will lead Australian netball over the next decade and, with some hope that netball will be included as an Olympic sport in Brisbane in 2032, they have the potential to create their own unique piece of Australian Diamonds history.

We have compiled an in-depth list of all players competing in both age groups at the titles to ensure netball fans have all the information they need to unearth the future Diamonds.

Feelgood story of the Week

2101 days is a long time between drinks.

Yet that is precisely how long the Portarlington Demons had to wait to record a much-needed drought-breaking victory.

Fair to say the Demons had endured a devil of a time in those five and a half years.

Yet now, after an Easter weekend drought-breaking victory no less, the Demons’ hopes for success have been resurrected.

Just two players from that previous victory on July 28, 2018 lined up for Portarlington last week when they tasted victory once again with a resounding win over Newcomb in the Bellarine Football League in Victoria.

Will Foott and vice-captain Shane Wiffen had seen a lot since they last sang the club’s song. Pandemics had come and gone, monarchs had died, wars had started and the West Coast Eagles had gone from premiers to laughing stocks.

We spare a thought for Wiffen in particular.

The Portarlington mussel farmer copped a heavy blow early in last week’s game and was suffering the effects of concussion as he watched the second half from the sidelines.

His team’s injury toll was mounting and the opposition was threatening a stirring victory in front of thousands of Portarlington fans.

“I was really worried,” Wiffen told this publication.

“(I thought) how are they going to run this game out with just one on the bench?

“I was sitting in the rooms very dejected (thinking): ‘There’s nothing I can do now, I can’t help them and they’re going to be overrun here’.”

Despite so long without tasting a win, Wiffen was never tempted to leave the club and that dedication made last week’s drought-breaker all the sweeter.

Irrespective of what happens this week Wiffen now faces another wait before he will savour a win again as, due to the new AFL concussion protocols at community level, he now has to sit on the sidelines for at least 21 days … a mere drop in the ocean in comparison to his previous wait.

Junior sports star of the week

Shout out this week to 15-year-old rising football talent Rhys Williams from the Sunshine Coast.

After becoming the youngest ever player to be competing in the Queensland NPL, Rhys jas this week been selected in the Australian Joeys under-17 football team which will play against a Swiss team and an Inter Milan under-17 academy during a visit to the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre in northern Italy later this month.

The promising midfielder will celebrate his 16th birthday during his time away where he’ll be testing his talents against players more than a year older than him.

Well done Rhys!