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Yarra Valley Water 2023 Season Review | The Basin

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A Grand Final appearance for the senior women was one of the club’s greatest highlights of the 2023 season.


Senior Men’s

Ladder Position: 8th (5-13, 78.21%)

Leading Goalkicker: Trevor Mills (27 goals)


2023 marked a new era for The Basin, after coaching and list changes, the club headed into the season with low outside expectations due to the age demographic of the side.


The club’s Under 19’s are coming off a premiership in 2022, many of which becoming the focal point of the 2023 senior team. The young Bear Cubs finished with five wins for the season, four wins against Knox and Upper Gully, along with an 20-point against-the-odds win over East Burwood.


The Basin battled hard across the season, a reasonably strong defensive side, with only two sides scoring 100 points or more against them. Comparing that to some of the other sides around them on the ladder, it’s a pretty decent effort.


One of the highlights of the year was Luke Watson’s club-breaking record when he passed Bears legend Michael Redpath on 332 games. The mammoth milestone achievement was celebrated with a win on the road against Upper Ferntree Gully.


Another club champion, Trevor Mills, was honoured at the end of the season, playing his last game in the red and green after a 15-year career. The longest-serving senior captain went out on a high as the Bears pulled through for a big win at home in the final round of the year.


The club also saw a cameo apperance of AFL legend Dane Swan, who threw on the boots and ran out onto Batterham Reserve in the green and red when the side took on Templestowe.


Finishing eighth with five wins sees the Bears survive in Division Two, avoiding this year’s double relegation.


Key Players:

Youngster Christian Poe had a great season for the club, in the best 12 times during the season. His efforts saw him make the Division Two Team of the Year squad alongside teammate Mitch Brown.


Big man Ethan Power also deserves some recognition for his impressive year at the Bears, consistently in the side’s best each week.


Trevor Mills in his final season with the Bears proved what a champion he’s been for the club. Mills didn’t miss a beat this year, with 27 goals from 16 games, having a huge positive impact on his younger teammates.


Best Win: Round Three – The Basin 11.12 78 def. East Burwood 8.10 58 @Batterham Reserve

One of the big upsets of the season at the time.


The Bears took on a heavily favoured Rams side in Round Three, cruising home for a 20-point win, their first of the 2023 season.


A few momentum shifts made for an interesting encounter at Batterham Reserve. After Half Time, The Basin were the much better side, kicking six goals to two and taking the four points.


Hayden Smith starred with three goals and best-on-ground honours.


Off-Season Focus:

Already been a busy off-season for The Basin, adding some experience to their young list.


Michael Cardamone returns to the club as the Bears’ new director of football. A great inclusion, to work alongside Jason Wade in his second year as senior coach of The Basin.


Cardamone has already been busy, playing a role in signing some great recruits to the club for season 2024.


Montrose ex-captain Billy Schilling will be calling the bear cave home next year. The ex-Demon has a resume that speaks for itself, including 200 plus senior games, over 500 senior goals, a seven-time leading goal kicker at Montrose and a three-time Team of the Year representative.


Another big-time goal kicker Joel Perry has also been signed for 2024. A key full forward and ex-North Melbourne player, Perry stands at 195 centimetres and will be the perfect target up forward as well as a great leader to the younger forwards at Batterham.


Adding depth to their forward line is a big tick if the club are looking at an area to improve to match some of their opposition clubs.


EX-VFL player Lachlan Moss has also put pen to paper, as well as Troy Wright, Harley Burmeister-Lyons, Josh Swainston and Daniel Frost.


Expect some improvement on-field in 2024 with the addition of leadership and experience added to the list.


Senior Women’s (Division One)

Ladder Position: 1st (13-1, 455.65%)

Leading Goalkicker: Danielle Brotto (53 goals)


A heartbreaking finish to what was an incredible season for the Bears’ senior Women’s team.


The Basin was the side to beat in 2023, winning 13 games in the Home and Away season, just one loss to the Hawks in Round Eight.


A fast-attacking, high-scoring outfit, the Bears hit triple digits in four games, their highest score coming in Round Five, scoring 181 points against Chirnside Park.


Their dominant home and away season saw The Basin finish on top of the Division One ladder, winning the Minor Premiership and securing the double chance. This set up a Semi-Final blockbuster clash against second-placed Boronia. An inspiring 28-point win over the Hawks set up a Grand Final appearance.


Two weeks later, the two sides re-met in the Division One Grand Final.


A hot start saw The Basin kick the opening three goals, all from the boot of leading goal kicker Danielle Brotto. Unfortunately for the Bears, the tide began to turn in the following two quarters with the Hawks taking a slender lead into the final quarter, setting up a high-pressured defensive battle in the final term.


The Basin fell five points short, their terrific season coming to an end.


Key Players:

Five Bears were selected in this year’s Division One Senior Women’s Team of the Year.


Skipper Julia Baker had the honours of being named captain of the TOTY, listed at Full Forward. Baker finished the season with 24 goals, the second most of any Bears player. But the side’s captain was used in multiple different positions during the year, she was inspirational in defence in this year’s Grand Final, almost willing the Bears over the line.


Danielle Brotto led the goal-kicking for not only the Bears but the league with an incredible tally of 53 goals. One of the most influential players in the finals series, kicking seven of the side’s ten goals against the Hawks.


Zoe Alston had another standout season in the midfield while Caitlin Grimmett took her game to a new level, having plenty of outside pace.


Bridie Winbanks was the fifth member of the Bears who qualified for the TOTY. She had a great year in the ruck, also well-averse to playing multiple positions.


Best Win: Semi Final – The Basin 7.5 47 def. Boronia 3.1 19 @H.E Parker Reserve

A fantastic come-from-behind win from the Bears saw them qualify first for the Grand Final after defeating the Hawks by 28 points.


Boronia kicked three of the first four goals of the game, jumping out to a two-goal lead at Quarter Time.


After that, it was predomiantly one-way traffic with the Bears getting on top of the stoppages and clearances and having majority of the play in the second half. The Semi Final victory meant The Basin had booked their spot in the 2023 Deakin University Division One Grand Final.


Danielle Brotto finished with four majors while some of their usual suspects such as Zoe Alston, Lily Murrell and Caitlin Grimmett, all played their role.


Off-Season Focus:

After a historic year for the side, Mark Eisenbise finishes as coach after leading the club to a Grand Final appearance in 2023. Adam Grant takes over in 2024 as the senior coach after most recently having the role of assistant coach at the SBL Wolves.


The club are in a great position going forward if they can maintain their current list.


Senior Women’s (Division Three)

Ladder Position: 6th (1-10, 17.66%)

Leading Goalkicker: Bridgette Gaulke, Ellie Weldon, Leisa Beggs (4 Goals)


The Basin’s successful senior women’s program thrived again in 2023, having the numbers to create a second team.


While their top side thrived in Division One, the Division Three Bears managed just one win in season 2023.


However, their form in the grading games is what saw The Basin secure a spot in Division Three. They won all three games against Fairpark, Warrandyte and Mitcham, the number-one-ranked offence in that period.


Their one season win came in Round Seven against a strong South Croydon outfit. The Bears finished off the second half of the year reasonably strongly, almost pinching victory against the Eagles in the final round of the year.


Key Players:

Lynlee Saysombath was impressive across the year, seven times listed in the best from ten games.


Chloe Goring was listed best on ground on multiple occasions for the Bears, also having great influence in their one victory, kicking two majors.


Although Patricia Boxell played just three games in the side, she also played all three grading games and proved to be one of the key reasons why the Bears were performing so well up forward, finishing with 12 majors in those three outings.


Best Win: Round Seven – The Basin 7.5 47 def. South Croydon Red 5.7 37 @Cheong Park

Although the Division Three Bears finished with just one win in the Home and Away season, it was one to remember, knocking off South Croydon who was one of the main premiership contenders.


The game had multiple momentum shifts each quarter, wind likely playing havoc with ten of the combined twelve goals all kicked towards one end of the ground.


Trailing by five points at Three Quarter Time, the Bears finished with three of the last four goals of the game to win their first match of the season. Ellie Weldon had a day out, kicking four of the seven Basin goals. Meanwhile, Lily Grace Murrell was fantastic, showing just how valuable her experience was.


Off-Season Focus:

The Basin prides itself on a strong senior women’s program and with great female representation through their Junior program, they’ll look to continue that into the next couple of seasons.



The Basin also featured heavily in the 2023 Bendigo Bank Netball competition.


The Basin Cubs was the highest-ranked Bears side, finishing in third position in Division Three, securing a finals position. The Cubs won 13 games and drew once in their seventeen Home and Away matches. A six-point win over Vermont in the first week of the finals saw the Cubs progress through to a Preliminary Final against Lilydale. They competed well, managing to keep the contest close for four quarters, but The Basin fell six points short of a Grand Final appearance.


Also competing in Division Three was The Basin Kodiaks who won six games, ending the year in ninth position. Melissa Beardsworth finished the season with 212 goals for the Kodiaks.


In Division Eight, The Basin Grizzlies was the side to beat in the Home and Away season, finishing on top of the ladder. Twelve wins and a draw saw the Grizzlies earn the double chance. After coming up short against Montrose in the first final, they took on the Waverley Blues in the Preliminary Final.


Falling behind early, they left their final quarter charge too late, losing the final by just two points. Kate Watson was one of the top goal shooters in the division, with 228 goals from 16 games.



 The Basin’s junior program was competitive again in season 2023, with 14 teams, which included five Girls teams.


The Under 12 Girls celebrated a great season with a premiership.


The Under 14 Boys also made the Grand Final, almost pulling off a fantastic upset over an undefeated Montrose team, losing on the last kick of the day.

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