It's been interesting reading this thread develop and I thought I might chime in with some observations.
I think by and large, Gosford City has struggled to adapt to CPL, minus a couple age groups, I think they were used to being the big fish in the old CJL, but then would come unstuck at state champs, and to a lesser extent at country champs. Unfortunately, the same is now being found out, except for some really good older age groups, with some very classy and "winning" kids, Gosford has found that they are just another 3rd - 6th club in CPL behind Newcastle and Illawarra, I put Newcastle number 1 now, look at the CPL ladders, their worst performing team is coming 3rd!! As for Illawarra, the u12 boys are running 4th out of 4, and whilst the rest of their boys program is up and running, the same cannot be said for their girls program, without obviously knowing about their u12 girls where there is no CPL.
U14 girls are sitting 4th but with a 5-6 record, u16 girls are sitting 6th with a 3-8 record and u18 girls are 5th with a 3-6 record. I know both those teams lost a really good player each from the same family, but even still, those positions are not what we usually equate with Illawarra Basketball.
Now about 5-7 years ago, Gosford City and Newcastle were in opposite places, Gosford City was dominating Newcastle across the board pretty much, save maybe an age group or 2, so what has changed, as it isn't just one age group or one gender where they have passed, it's across the board! I'd be really interested to know from Newcastle people what has changed over those last couple of years, I would hazard a guess and say that getting out to schools has played a part, and I believe that could be an area where Gosford City can and should focus on to get more players playing Terrigal, which would in turn lead to more numbers trialling, more competition for spots and better and more balanced teams.
I don't think Gosford City is that far off from returning to the top, but doing the same thing over and over isn't going to get it done. With The Entrance falling by the wayside, there is an opportunity to get into more schools in the Wyong Shire and tap into that area, I think that is a tap that could sprout some good players.
Bringing in a player or 2 from outside always helps, it has definitely helped the Illawarra u14 boys team, who are a very good team, but with the boys from Shoalhaven has pushed them over the edge, it will be very interesting to see the matchup between them and Norths at State.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth, in summary, I believe Newcastle is the number 1 CPL club across the board at the moment, ladder positions are proof of that, Illawarra 2nd and Gosford City 3rd or 4th, probably 3rd, but Western Reds are doing pretty well in their age groups, but some of their teams are another argument, only some of their teams, not all, so don't shoot!!