Hume City Broncos Championship Men Season Preview:
One Step Further in 2024
By David Chalmers
It’s an exciting time to be a Bronco. After falling at the final hurdle twice in the past five years, what better time for the Champ Men to go one step further than in the 20th anniversary season of their last (and only) Big V championship?
The Hume City Broncos have been one of the powerhouses of the Big V Champ Men division in recent years. The team completed an impressive 2023 season in which they finished 3rd (16-5) and toppled the defending champs Wyndham in the semi-finals, before falling to McKinnon in the Big Dance, 74-90.
Head coach Matt Foster returns for another tilt at the title, along with Jah Soloai, Cory Bellman and five members of the 2023 Broncos Youth League championship team who were also members of the Champ Men team: Ben Galea, Deryse Matautia, Elijah-Taye Saifaleupolu, Haydon McIntosh and Sam O’Toole.
There is no doubt the 2024 campaign will be a challenge, with a host of quality and experience walking out the door during the off-season, including Troyce Manassa (20 ppg, 8 rpg), Chris ‘Euro’ Elder (16 pts, 4 rebs), Chris Kaba (10 pts, 7 rebs), Corey Fiddes (13 pts, 8 rebs), Makuel Puondak (14 pts, 5 rebs), Max Vitale (10 pts, 6 rebs), Shaun Prendergast and MJ Foster.
However, despite the big losses there is also a silver lining. In a huge coup, we’ve managed to snaffle the 2023 Champ Men leading scorer and the competition’s second-placed rebounder! Scottie Stone claimed the scoring crown with 29 points and 6 rebounds per game for Western Port, while Trevon Clayton grabbed 11 rebounds and poured in 13 points per game for the Sunbury Jets. Trevon will be a familiar face for many Broncos fans, having contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds per game across the 2017-2018 seasons at The Corral. Welcome back, Trevon!
In addition, exciting young US import Malik McKinney has been busy making himself at home and getting to know the Broncos community. Malik has recently finished College, representing Seton Hill and West Liberty University. In his final season he averaged 11 points and 3 assists. He scored 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the championship game, proving himself a big-game player.
Rounding out the 2024 Champ Men line-up: Keenan Gorski has spent the last three seasons averaging a double-double while representing the Wallan Panthers in Big V D2M, 6’8” forward Zach McKenzie joins us from NZ NBL team the Franklin Bulls, and Carlo Camp is now a Bronco after a couple of seasons at the Keilor Thunder in NBL1.
On his re-commitment to the club, head coach Matt Foster said: “I’m as excited as ever to have the opportunity to be involved with the great club that Hume is, and to continue to work with the quality individuals within the team. As with other years, we will have some turnover of personnel but I’m confident we will put together a very solid unit, combining some promising young Bronco talent whom we’ve nurtured with some experienced veterans playing key roles. A huge vote of thanks to (former DoC) Brett, who brought me to the Hume City coaching role and who has been invaluable for his support and guidance during the past five years. In gearing up for next year, I’m looking forward to representing Hume City and seeing the Bronco faithful loud and proud!”
Photo credits: Awards For Photography, Basketball Victoria, Big V, Western Liberty University, Melbourne Basketball League, Franklin Basketball Club, Keilor Thunder