The Cockburn Basketball Association has re-signed the bulk of the 2020 West Coast Classic group, with these athletes joining the newly-signed Cougars to tackle the inaugural 2021 NBL1 season.
Lead by the experience of Nicole Roberts, Haylee De Sousa, Matilda Muir, Sally Graham and veteran Jodee Sontay, Cockburn basketball CEO and women’s head coach is excited by the return of the core group.
“It was always a priority to retain the large majority of Cougar athletes from 2020,” Thwaites said.
“All our women’s athletes were offered contracts immediately following the season, with the large majority taking these up ahead of an exciting 2021.
“We now have a broad age profile for our group, with a significant investment in our younger end to ensure our future is well catered for.”
Tia Morgan, Jesni Cooper, Abbey Cowan, Emma Burke, Kiera Dunhill and Kahlia Morgan are all 22 or under next year, with the bulk of these athletes forming the core of the Cougar future.
“We have deliberately invested in experience for the 2021 season to ensure our younger athletes understand specifically what is required to be a top-level athlete,” he said.
“With greater talent around our young group, they will understand exactly the level expected on a daily basis, which is great for them and the future of the program.
“Taylah Simmons, Jessie Edwards and Molly Mathews all bring WNBL or overseas experience, and it won’t take long for the positive effect of that to rub off on our future.”
Nicole Roberts was the co-captain of the women’s progran in 2020, and like her co-captain Jodee Sontay (announced yesterday), knows how important the added experience is to benefit the future talent in the program.
“The combination of youth and experience is a real bonus for us in 2021, it helps drive the competitive nature that is linked to success,” Roberts said.
“Ruby Benn is someone we can’t wait to see grow with the experience around her.
“She already possesses the tools required to make an impacton the court, but add in her humble and team orientated nature, she is only going to get better in 2021.”
Excitingly, the women’s program is set to announce a number of junior athletes who will make the jump to NBL1 in early January, rounding out the senior group for 2021 with a Cougar flavour.