Bourke returns to Melton

New Melton Thoroughbreds coach Lucas Bourke. Picture supplied

Tara Murray

New Melton Thoroughbreds men’s coach Lucas Bourke asked many people for help in his previous stint as president at the club.

So when the club asked him to step up and take on the role as the club’s men’s Big V coach weeks out from the upcoming season, he was happy to oblige.

Bourke steps into the coaching hot step, with playing coach Chris Johnson signing a deal to play in the Western Australian NBL1 season.

Bourke said he hadn’t planned on coaching senior basketball this year, but was happy to help the club out.

“It’s a different place these days,” he said.

“I was already back at the club this year coaching my son. It was nice to be in the position to help out.

“I then took on the men’s coaching role this season, as I saw that was what the club needed.

“When I was president I asked people to step up and when people asked me to, I felt I had to.”

Bourke coached at Ballarat and Keilor in his four years away from the club and has coached junior teams for more than 20 years. He has coached both Vic Metro and Vic Country teams to junior state titles

He said while coaching senior teams hadn’t been his ambition, he was excited for the challenge ahead of him.

Bourke has a challenge ahead of him, being appointed so close to the division 2 season starting. Round one gets underway on March 13.

He is still putting a squad together, reaching out to some new and old faces to try and complete the group,

Bourke said the loss of Johnson was massive, with no one in the squad who could step up in that position.

He said they were hoping to add one or two other players before the season kicks off.

“We’re looking to bring in some new talent,” he said.

“We’re looking to make some small improvements to the roster before the season starts.

“There’s some old faces, some smart guys, so hopefully that will count for a bit.

Former division 2 competition most valuable player Jeff Crowe returns to the club. Crowe, a championship player with the club, has more recently played with Keilor Thunder.

Sam Byron is another key guy in the squad.

After the interrupted pre-season, Bourke said the biggest focus on them was building for the future.

“The expectations for this year are about building the program back up and creating a strong foundation.

“That’s the number one goal.

“If we’re in a position to push for finals, then we’ll look to push for them.

The Thoroughbreds kick off their season at home against Wangaratta North East [formally NE Bushrangers] on March 13.