Gators are ready for more Bath time

October 11, 2017

Leigh Bathman will continue to coach Shepparton Gators for a fourth season.

Shepparton Gators will have Leigh Bathman coaching the Big V side for a fourth consecutive season.

The Gators have locked Bathman in for another campaign as they look to rebound from missing the Big V finals for the first time since 2013.

Injuries, inconsistent form and pure bad luck struck Shepparton in division one this year, as the Gators won only six of their 19 games.

Bathman said he was looking forward to putting together a squad capable of again reaching finals.

But the Gators will have to do it without young gun Bailey Michel, who has told the club he will not be travelling back from Melbourne.

Michel played for Shepparton this year, despite moving away for university commitments.

He will stay in Melbourne and likely play for a Big V club in a metropolitan area.

‘‘It’s a blow for us because Bailey has developed really well in the last couple of years, but it creates an opportunity for someone to step up,’’ Bathman said.

‘‘We’ve got kids from Gabe Evans and Tyrone Mohamed coming along and if they’re worthy of stepping into that role, they’ll get the opportunity to play minutes.

‘‘They’ll have to earn it, but it creates good competition in the team.’’

Brady Neill is not expected to return, but Staci Richardson will be back mid-season, as he did this year, after coming back from the US.

Captain Rob Sartori is weighing up his future and the veteran guard will make a decision before Christmas on whether he is back in Gators colours next season.

Bathman said no decision had been made on this year’s US imports Aubrey McAlpine and Justin Patton.

McAlpine’s season was cut short after he ruptured his Achilles, requiring surgery in Australia before flying back to the US.

He is recovering from the injury in the States and recently began shooting back on court.

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