Scott Balsar’s Shoalahven Tiger cubs set to earn their stripes against Hawkesbury

THE Kennedy’s Tours Shoalhaven Tigers youth league men are set to make their debut in the Waratah League competition this Saturday night, when they take on the Hawkesbury Jets at the Tigers Den.

TALL TIMBER: Shoalhaven Tigers youth league men's stars Jeremy Harding,  Riley O’Shannessy and Rhys Willis. Photo: COURTNEY WARD

TALL TIMBER: Shoalhaven Tigers youth league men's stars Jeremy Harding, Riley O’Shannessy and Rhys Willis. Photo: COURTNEY WARD

This season, Shoalhaven boasts three teams in the Waratah League competitions, with the division one men and women being joined by Scott Balsar’s YLM (under 22s) side – who are ending a 14-year hiatus.

The YLM Tigers will be coached by high performance coach Balsar, who has a strong track record with the senior Tigers program – taking the division one women’s team to back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008, before guiding the men’s team to two final series’ in 2011 and 2013.

“The boys have been working extremely hard and are committed to the teams values and goals,” Balsar said.

“We played a trial game two weeks ago against last year’s semi-finalists Illawarra and although we went down by 20 points, we were without three of our key players and we missed our first eight shots.

“So you can’t really gauge that loss and it was the first time we have played together as a group.”

The Tiger cubs have an abundance of talent in their group, including Shoalhaven juniors Brayden Morris, Kyle Leslie, Luke Smith and Matt Morrissey – who will make their senior debuts alongside the experienced Brendan Sampson, James McDonald and Tim Balzer on Saturday.

The squad will be captained by NSW junior representative Riley O’Shannessy, standing at 6’7, from Batemans Bay.

O’Shannessy is one of four out of area players in Balsar’s squad, including forward Jeremy Harding (Batemans Bay), guard Josh Watts (Moss Vale) and guard Rhys Willis (Merimbula) – who last played with Nunawading in the Big V youth division in Melbourne.

Tip-off on Saturday is at 6pm, with doors opening at 5pm.

Tickets available at the door cost; adult ($5), child under 17 ($3) or $15 family of four.

Season passes are also available for purchase; adult ($30), child under 17 ($15) or $90 family of four.

Balsar’s YLM aren’t the only Tigers tam to return to the hardwood this weekend, with Ian Ozolins’ division one men’s side one the road against the Sutherland Sharks.

The squad, which contains William, Tom and Bruce Ozolins, Tim Hanlon, Lachlan Crowe, Billy Campbell, Connor Rowe, Mathew Ganderton, Ben Morris, Kieran Corbin, Levi Dennison, Alex Brown and Lockie Bailey tip-off their match at the Sutherland Basketball Stadium at 5.30pm Saturday.

While the Ken Arthur coached division one women’s side don’t tip-off their season until Saturday, March 24.