By Jackson Russell

WALLAN Basketball has been forced to cease all competitions after Basketball Victoria cancelled its Big V and Victorian Junior Basketball League seasons in the wake of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire going into stage three restrictions.

The club also cancelled its winter domestic competitions, as the lockdown came into effect.

President Gary O’Brien said he was ‘gutted’ for everyone at the club and particularly felt for the players more than anything.

“You’ve got kids that are brand new that were going to play their first game of basketball ever and kids who were playing their first rep game as a Panther have had that taken away because the VJBL’s been cancelled,” he said.

“Then you’ve got kids who are in under 21s who won’t qualify next year and it was their last year of rep so that’s been cut short.

“Right up to Big V, we’ve got recruits who now have to wait and stalwarts who have been with us a long time that have now had a whole season taken away and that’s hard work for a senior player.”

The club is now looking forward to the start of the Country Basketball League and summer domestic seasons in the coming months.

O’Brien said it was a whole new ball game keeping the club afloat during the second lockdown as its initial plans relied on junior domestic and a VJBL season to start.

“I will do whatever it takes to make this club survive. There’s zero chance of me letting this club fall over, I love this joint and I won’t let it collapse,” he said.

“I’m going to have to make some hard decisions and become very unpopular but I have to do what it takes to make the club survive.

“We’re going to make sure this club survives. Basketball is going to come back.

“It won’t be easy and there will be some difficult decisions and the community is going to need to help a bit but we will all find a way.”