STAWELL - There is plenty of excitement brewing among the Stawell Wildcats Association community ahead of the upcoming Country Basketball League season.
Joining the CBL Stawell Wildcats for 2013-14 is a women's team to be coached by Trevor Holmes, who was in charge of the men in their inaugural year in 2012-13.
Ben Leslie has taken over the reins to coach the men while there are two junior Stawell Wildcats sides, under 18 and under 14 boys, set to play in basketball tournaments around the state this summer.
These sides are coached by Simon Hallett and Trevor Holmes respectively.
In addition to the Wildcats teams, the association has extended its program to the junior ranks in establishing the 'Wildcubs', which focuses on development.
Trevor Holmes is taking the classes, run every Friday from 4pm-5pm, for children between the ages of six and nine years.
It has been a busy off-season for the Stawell Wildcats Association, who have a new president Aiden Lee, a new-look committee as well as coaches, teams and players.
Association media spokesman, Jordan Little, said the club is excited by the return of the CBL season.
"All the signs are positive for both sides," Mr Little said.
"It was always the goal to establish teams in both senior competitions and also to establish a sustainable junior program towards the long term success of the association."
Mr Little, who also features in the men's Stawell Wildcats team and played in their inaugural season, earmarked improvement as the aim for this season.
It was tough going for the Wildcats men, who finished winless in 2012-13.
"We were hoping to pinch a game last season, but we were realistic enough to know that we were coming up against more experienced teams," Mr Little said.
"While we were disappointed, we now know where the level (of play) is."
Wildcats men are currently working on their new offensive structure with an aim to improve on last season.
"We are confident we can close the gap," Mr Little said.
Stawell Wildcats have been training for two months now and new men's coach Ben Leslie is happy with how his team is tracking at this stage of pre-season.
"All things look good. Defence looks good and we have a couple of new players," Leslie said.
"We're looking forward to the season and are hoping to build a winning culture together with Trevor Holmes and the ladies team."
One of the new players to join the Stawell Wildcats men's team in season 2013-14 is Blake Dunstan.
Dunstan is a smaller body who plays the role as a running guard.
There is one confirmed omission from the team that played last season and that is Shane Field, who isn't returning due to personal reasons.
In more good news for the association, both men's and women's teams have new naming sponsors with Brix Hotel and Stawell Panel and Paint jumping on board.
Mr Little said sponsorship for the club is vital and there are gold, silver and bronze packages still available.
To become a sponsor of the Stawell Wildcats Association or for any information regarding the team, please contact secretary Maryann Ellis on 0457 004 872 or e-mail Stawell Wildcats at firstname.lastname@example.org.