Shepparton hosted Women’s National Basketball League powerhouse Bendigo Spirit in an open training session on Monday night.
Travelling with a near full squad, about 50 people turned out to watch the professional organisation showcase their talents at the Shepparton Sports Stadium.
‘‘It is a great opportunity for Shepparton to come watch a club like the Spirit train. They are a quality team guided by a quality coach,’’ Greater Shepparton Basketball Association domestic manager Tony Long said.
‘‘Players, coaches, mums, dads and even people from the general public were there learning a thing or two about basketball.’’
Following the 90-minute open session, spectators had the opportunity to question Spirit coach Simon Pritchard, mingle with the players and pose for photos.
Bendigo Spirit general manager Adam Tarr was delighted with the turnout and believed it was a good opportunity to promote women’s basketball.
‘‘It was terrific that so many people came to watch us train. One of our main goals is to expose Bendigo Spirit to country Victoria,’’ Tarr said.
Not only did the spectators enjoy the open session, but so did the Spirit officials.
‘‘It was also great to see our staff and players get amongst it as well as they did. They were talking, taking photos and signing autographs for the people of Shepparton who made the effort to come out and watch us train,’’ Tarr said.
The Spirit side boasts a number of players from regional Victoria, most notably Jane Chalmers.
Chalmers, who has been with the Spirit since their inception in 2007, is originally from Echuca and acts as a role model for many young aspiring female basketballers.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity for the young basketballers, the girls in particular, to meet high level athletes in their sport,’’ Tarr said.
‘‘Hopefully by exposing the Spirit, many young female basketballers will continue to play the sport, knowing that Bendigo can act as a pathway for junior basketballers in regional victoria.’’