Slam Dunk Time At Bernie Mullane

By Lawrence Machado

The complex is under the new management of The Hills Basketball Association which is upgrading the indoor courts to make it suitable for wheelchair sports and improve facilities for the gym and netball courts.

The renovation, which features a new timber sports floor and top-quality glass backboards, is expected to take up to six weeks.

The Hills Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne said the HBA has a proven track record and excellent experience in managing similar sporting facilities here in The Hills.

“I am confident that the complex will significantly add to the quality of our sporting facilities for use by residents,” said.

“I would like to thank Belgravia and their staff for their commitment to running the centre for the past six years,” Mayor Byrne said. HBA boss Steve Burke said “the Hills Basketball is bursting at the seams and we have over 20 teams (almost 200 individuals) on our waiting list for competition slots”.

“The headline benefit to Hills Basketball is it will go some way to addressing the massive under resourcing problem for indoor facilities, specifically basketball courts, in the Hills area,” Burke said.

“The facility comes with certain expectations regarding servicing other sports and activities outside basketball. We believe our track record shows we are capable of meeting this challenge and we do so willingly as while we are a basketball association first and foremost, we are also a community organisation.”

The Hornets Academy Skills Program, which caters for over 1,200 kids each week, has a waiting list of more than 200.

Burke said they prefer the contract to be extended beyond five years, saying they are investing significant capital into the complex. While basketball continues to grow in the Hills – they have more than 7000 players – they are still second to soccer.

“With all due respect to the Hills Football Association, which has done a great job in it’s short history, we would argue it’s only a lack of available facilities which is keeping us from pushing towards their numbers,” Burke said.

Asked why basketball is able to attract so many players in the Hills which competes with several sports, he said: “The first thing is that all those sports remain strong in an area with a great tradition in community sport and a growing population.

“We provide various levels at Hills Basketball, right through to those who want to pursue the sport to the highest level. We have done the heavy lifting in this area and while we will continue down this track, we will also continue to lobby government at all levels to recognise the need to provide additional indoor facilities,” Burke said.

“We’ll continue to bring major competitions to the Hills.” Burke said Hills Basketball invested around $100,000 in a joint venture with the council to totally refurbish the Dural Recreation Centre, which “was literally a house for pigeons when we moved in in mid-2018”.

“The DRC has become the training centre for the Blue Hornets, joint venture teams in the National Wheelchair Basketball Leagues between HBA and the Sydney Blues Wheelchair Basketball Club.”

The HBA runs regular wheelchair basketball skills sessions out of this venue.


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