BSL review an opportunity to set Spirit’s future direction

Bendigo Spirit 2017-18 import Betnijah Laney.

Bendigo Spirit 2017-18 import Betnijah Laney.

ONE of the questions Bendigo Stadium Limited is asking in its review of the Bendigo Spirit following its 2017-18 WNBL season of struggle is “what does success mean”.

The BSL has stated all aspects of the Spirit’s operations will be put under the microscope following a third-straight season out of the play-offs and Bendigo having just claimed its first unwanted wooden spoon on the back of a disappointing 4-17 record that included six of the seven biggest losses in the club’s 11-year history.

The question of what success means for the Spirit though is far more than just what happens in the 40 minutes on court.

Yes, elite sport such as the WNBL is a results caper and on-court success is judged by the wins and losses column.

However, success for the Bendigo Spirit moving forward is much more than just climbing its way back up the ladder – among many aspects, crucial is financial stability.

To quote the BSL review media release last Thursday: “for the past few years the club has been treading water financially, dealing with legacy issues that have forced it to do whatever it can to get through season by season”, which then feeds into the ability to recruit top talent and build a deep roster to remain competitive in a competition that continues to go from strength to strength.

It sounds awfully familiar to the struggles of Bendigo’s VFL team through its stand-alone years before the end came for the Bendigo Gold in 2014, and so did the pathway it offered young footballers.

Bendigo is a rarity – a regional city that is home to a national sporting team. 

Hopefully, the “strategic” review as it’s labelled being undertaken by the BSL can lay the foundation and set a strong direction for not only a sustainable Spirit future, but one where Bendigo can again genuinely compete in the WNBL, rather than just participate as was the case this season.