Roy Ward on the Bendigo Lady Braves’ interim coach, plus this week’s big plays and the media wrap-up
When it comes to coaching, Bernie Harrower rarely plays second-fiddle.
Five SEABL championships with Bendigo Lady Braves in 12 seasons plus two WNBL championships with Bendigo Spirit usually means he is the head coach, not an assistant.
But Harrower owes his long time WNBL assistant coach Jonathan Goodman a debt after the younger coach stood by his side with the Spirit over several WNBL seasons.
Goodman is the head coach of the Lady Braves but won a role as an assistant coach for the Australian Gems team with the group going away in July for the FIBA world championships.
With Goodman needing to be away for July along with a Gems’ camp this past weekend, Harrower agreed to play “substitute coach” for Goodman while he is away.
Harrower took the reins for the Lady Braves crucial clash with Geelong on Saturday night, prevailing in a 71-67 win which took them back to 3-3 on the season.
“To help Jono out was something special for me – he has been a very loyal assistant coach to me over a number of years,” Harrower said.
“I wanted to repay the effort he showed me – in his first couple of years he would drive up and back from Melbourne four or five times a week.
“I’ve gone back to where it all began – back to my roots so to speak and it’s still a privilege to coach the Lady Braves and it brings back some good memories too.”
The Bendigo side did feature a few long-time Harrower players in Andrea Wilson and Jane Chalmers while point guard Kerryn Harrington was also well known to the coach.
Harrower admits he probably knew more about the players on the Supercats’ roster than his own after spending just two training sessions with the Braves before the game.
“My influence on the group wasn’t that great and I didn’t know the players that well but Jono and myself have similar styles and he has recruited girls who are willing to play together which is pleasing,” Harrower said.
“Whether it was good luck or good management – I’ve always kept very steady, consistent rosters in my teams so we get to know each other well so it was a different experience to coach girls I didn’t know that well.
“I was just on them to try to keep the intensity up to the level where it needs to be because it was one of those games we needed to win and I know Jono was very keen to win this one.
“Geelong’s side was pretty familiar as I knew Alex Duck from earlier years, Anna Teague and Courtney Williamson have spent time with the Spirit and I coached Tayla Roberts in the past few seasons.
“There was times I went to Kerryn and asked what they would usually run at certain moments so I could draw up plays I knew and the players would be comfy with – we did well and got some important buckets from them late in the game.”
Harrower won’t be going away after his one-game stint. He says he plans to help out Goodman for the rest of the season before returning to the hot seat in July while Goodman is away.
“I’ll hang around from now until he goes away and help him out where I can,” Harrower said.
Off the court Harrower’s daughter, now retired Opals and Bendigo icon Kristi Harrower, has just under four weeks left until the due date for the birth of her first child.
All things being equal Harrower could have another grandchild just before taking up the Braves’ coaching role for July.
*Frankston star Kelly Bowen had a bumper offensive night for the Lady Blues with a season-high 42 points against Launceston although the Tornadoes took the win as Lauren Mansfield celebrated her recent promotion back to the WNBL with South-East Queensland as she scored 17 points, dished out eight assists and made seven steals.
*Launceston also took down Kilsyth Cobras on Sunday as centre Mikaela Ruef scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while Steph Cumming added 28 points for the Cobras.
*Nunawading centre Kate Oliver produced the goods in the Spectres’ win over Canberra Capitals Academy with 27 points and seven rebounds.
*Hobart Lady Chargers’ pair Amy Kame scored 27 points and Klara Wisher added 20 points and 10 rebounds in their club’s win over Albury-Wodonga.
*Bendigo guard Jane Chalmers wasn’t her sides’ leading scorer in their win over Geelong but her 13 points and 11 assists were a major element of the win as import Staci Robertson top-scored with 25 points.
*Sandringham star Brittany Smart notched up 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as her Sabres’ lost to Brisbane.
*Dandenong Rangers centre Jacinta Kennedy is making double-doubles a regular occurrence with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes as her club beat Ballarat.
SEABL media links
*Leader’s Megan Hustwaite (@MeganHustwaite) reports Nunawading Spectes are considering signing a replacement player after the horrible news Bec Cole will be out for a year with a knee injury. Report: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/sport/melbourne-boomers-and-nunawading-spectres-guard-bec-cole-out-for-12-months-with-ruptured-acl/story-fnglemo4-1227361289661
*The Examiner’s Phil Edwards reports on the Tornadoes’ good weekend. Report: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3100146/tornadoes-rip-through-top-team/?cs=96
*Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@Stevesmithffx) on Hobart’s win over Albury-Wodonga. Report, pictures: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3100495/lady-bandits-back-to-earth-after-charger-thumping/?cs=10
*Bendigo Advertiser’s Nathan Dole reports on the Lady Braves’ win over Geelong along with several action pictures. Report, pictures: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/3099565/lady-braves-beat-supercats/?cs=81#slide=8
*Dole also reported on Bernie Harrower’s new “substitute coach” role for the Lady Braves. Report: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/3095844/bernie-back-on-sidelines-for-braves/?cs=81
*Dandenong Journal’s Jarrod Potter tells the story of Amanda Hobba’s rapid return to the court after pregnancy. Report, pictures: http://dandenong.starcommunity.com.au/journal/2015-05-18/familys-first-but-hobbas-back-home-on-the-court/
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_Whelan) reports on the Rush’s battle with the Rangers. Report: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3100123/rush-shows-true-grit/?cs=63
Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions during this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org