Finally, an announcement to finish off with. Yesterday afternoon, Nicole Roberts informed the club, after 330 Cougar games, she will be retiring from NBL1 basketball.
Nic started her SBL career in 2005, 18 seasons ago, which scarily enough, was before half our team was actually born. In that time, Nic has ridden the highs and lows of our Cougar women’s program both individually and as a team. No matter the situation, Nic will always say “Tyrone, you know me, whatever is best for the team”. And she means it. You can’t ask for much more as a coach, a CEO or as a friend.
When I first took on this role, I made it clear I couldn’t do it with out Nicole Roberts. Someone I’ve known since I was 11 years old. And in the 20 years since, in my view, I don’t believe there has been a player who has come close to the impact Nic has had on our wider club. Some might come close, but there are none in front.
Nic has taken great pride in her career with the opportunity to play with the girls she coached at WABL level – whether it be Nicole Pitcher, Abbey Cowan, Kahlia Morgan, or more recently, Kinley Paterson – it is something Nic has enjoyed across her 18 seasons. Equally, she’s enjoyed playing with some great friends and the ‘core’ of the last decade that included Chelsea Evans, Kristen Everard, KP & Nicole Pitcher, Lauren Gandini, and of course her twi. sister Alyce. Nic and I only discussed yesterday that we are starting to see this come to life again now with our young group coming through, and she loves seeing what is ideally the next core group of girls for this decade.
In 18 seasons there are no doubt big moments, and getting to share that with club legends Vanessa Cahill and Fleur McIntyre is something Nic had the privilege of. At the same time, there were plenty of huge moments for Nic personally. Two notable game winning threes against Warwick and Kalamunda, snapping Mandurah’s massive winning streak in her 200th game, captaining D-League to multiple grand final wins, any SBL finals win, and any win against Willetton.
She’s the type of person our program has needed for nearly 20 years. Hard working, selfless, fierce, committed and club-orientated are the words you want in an athlete, and as a leader. She’s reflected this on the court, and off it. Whether it be playing, officiating, coaching, or volunteering, she’s virtually done it all.
On top of all this, she’s resilient, a highly undervalued asset. No matter the disappointment, no matter the bump in the road, she would bounce back around again and do what was required for the good of the club. That is not easy to do, and very few are prepared to do it.
Nic, you have impacted more people than you know. And while ultimately a championship is what you craved, your influence on past and current members of our community, should give you a sense of fulfilment on a career length that will likely go unmatched in our women’s program.
It’s been an absolute privilege to be a part of it.