Glenn Ferry
Two years ago

Hawthorn Magic in Herald Sun

Hawthorn Magic story on Page 18 of today's Herald Sun (23/7/22).

Knowing how many people here get triggered at any mention of Basketball Hawthorn/Hawthorn Magic thought I'd share...

Disgust over Basketball Victoria's decision not to field Hawthorn Magic teams in the Victorian Junior Basketball League
More than 300 young basketballers have been left stranded by the disbanding of one of the Victoria’s most successful clubs.

Furious parents have lashed out at Basketball Victoria’s decision not to field Hawthorn Magic teams in the Victorian Junior Basketball League, calling it "disgusting" and “appalling”.

Hawthorn Magic, which was awarded Best Junior Program in the state in 2018 by Basketball Victoria, has been credited with boosting participation of girls in basketball.

Legal action is now being considered by those who claim the state body didn’t have any intention of saving the club.

Parent of an 11-year-old Magic player, Chris Sinicco, said children “feel that they have been forced to leave the community that they love being a part of”.

“Not only is this devastating for Hawthorn Magic kids, but there will be a flow-on effect for all junior basketballers at local clubs in the area,” he said.

A petition to save the club was created last weekend on and has attracted more than 800 signatures from those both inside and outside the club.

Hawthorn Magic is the representative arm of Basketball Hawthorn, which hit financial issues in early 2020 when substantial pre-existing debt ​couldn’t be repaid because Covid lockdowns led to a loss of revenue.

In December 2021, the Basketball Hawthorn board sought assistance from Basketball Victoria, which led to the resignation of the board and Basketball Victoria taking charge.

Mr Sinicco has been working with a group of Hawthorn Magic members to rescue the representative club.

“We were able to demonstrate to Basketball Victoria that the club was very easily salvageable and we would have had the remaining debt cleared in as little as one year,” he said.

“We put forward a very strong proposal, but we feel that the Basketball Victoria Board never had any intention of saving us. They had an obligation to act in the best interests of our members and instead they dismissed our submission”.

“It is hoped that Basketball Victoria will review their decision in the interests of girls and boys being able to continue to participate in basketball,” Mr Sinicco said.

A statement from Basketball Victoria said the organisation was still working through the future of the club “to ensure debt reduction plans are met, with the major focus on what is best for basketball in the Boroondara region”.

The organisation rejects the suggestion they didn’t want to save Magic.

“All options had their positives and negatives, which were scrutinised and evaluated to see if they were a financially viable solution as well servicing the wide range of basketball stakeholders in the Boroondara community,” the statement said.

Topic #50287 | Report this topic

Two years ago

Rich parents pulling some favours from some people at Herald Sun.
This type of arrogance is exactly what got them into their success and mess at the same time.

Don't like being told no and go crying about it.
This type of article is going to help win over Bv who bent over backwards to help this clusterf%#k

Reply #896222 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

Those parents may be barking up the wrong tree here. Legal action also a stretch surely.
Hawthorn Magic was lead into a financial mess by a board and management team (not BV) that literally threw their community's money away. Discussed to death on here already so I’m leaving that alone. BV could share more detail on all that too but I’m sure that implicates their governance as well.

Reply #896225 | Report this post

Two years ago

There are some points that need to be addressed - Facts would be helpful!

BV did not create this situation - The Hawthorn Board did and it was not COVID that caused the financial issues - it brought it publicly to light- years of financial miss management, adhering to an unrealistic strategic plan and not reporting financials to BV for over 5 years, thus a debt of just under a $900K debt.

The Hawthorn Board had a responsibility to ALL members to advise what was happening during this period - all of junior domestic parents were aware of the problems and what was happening , as Clubs were keeping members advised (as they should - as it was the members money that was being spent on other areas of basketball - not domestic) - WHY WERE THE PARENTS OF MAGIC NOT INFORMED ???

This is the question that needs to be asked ? The finger pointing should be at Hawthorns Board!! What responsibility are they bearing ???????

Maybe BV should share the investigation finding into Hawthorns financial mess and that might put things into perspective - it would be irresponsible of BV to rack up more debt by running programs that are running at a loss .

It is very sad for the kids, but there are also businesses that are suffering too - with monies owing (from HBA) that are unlikely to be able to be repaid - especially in these hard economic times .. what about a thought for them ?

The Hawthorn Board didn't ask BV to step in - BV forced the Board to step down! More spin and lies from HBA Board ... thus BV finding the true state of the financial mess of the Association.

Reply #896238 | Report this post

Relaxed coach  
Two years ago

This whole thing with Hawthorn basketball and BV is an absolute tragedy.

Basketball club members across Victoria and in particularly their board members need to take note of their financial responsibilities and duties to their members.

The ambitions of the Hawthorne board got in the way of financial responsibility and accountability.

I would be confident to say that nobody including BV wanted the club to be in the situation it now faces.

Unfortunately, lessons do need to be learnt and financial accountability is definitely one of them.

Reply #896239 | Report this post

Two years ago

I thought the Hawthorn board stepped aside? Did seem odd.

Reply #896240 | Report this post

Two years ago

@Relaxed Coach. Wise words.

Reply #896241 | Report this post

Two years ago

LLKK is right - I know of a few parents who sit in both camps.

Reply #896244 | Report this post

Mr Dizzy  
Two years ago

The VJBL season had only just started when Basketball Hawthorn Board resigned in late 2021. This was probably the only reason BV kept Hawthorn Magic going.

Had the Board resigned a month earlier the whole thing probably would have been closed down.

Speaking of closed the old Basketball Hawthorn office is now for lease.

Reply #896247 | Report this post

Two years ago

Good point about the board stepping down and timing for Hawthorn Magic. BV probably didn't have many options at the time and needed to survey the carnage.

Reply #896269 | Report this post

Two years ago

Typically uninformed article. Thought journalists (as opposed to reporters) were supposed to investigate and provide insight and balanced views.

Reply #896296 | Report this post

Two years ago

That was before Murdoch became dominant, Kanga. The good old days, sigh

Reply #896297 | Report this post

Two years ago

Well that explains it , the Chair at Hawthorn worked for News Corp!

NEVER LET THE FACTS OR TRUETH get in the way of a good story.

Throughout the financial mess and unethical management at Hawthorn , there has been misinformation and spin , on nearly everything that came out to members by the Board.

BV should just release the findings and put an end to the lies!

Reply #896298 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

Releasing more detail might make the noise stop? Surely BV have a splitting headache in this one and I'm going to guess they thought the 'wind up’ press release would stop the drama?! Or maybe they assumed the Magic community knew more?

Reply #896307 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

Not sure BV will think any publicity is good publicity on this one.

I just watched a news story on Facebook that channel 7 aired implying the Hawthorn debt was because of COVID hitting. These families are clearly very unhappy, but BV have not just tossed Hawthorn, recent apparent club of the year, aside.

If that debt was really around 900k as COVID hit, the issue is much bigger than what the average member might want to believe.

There are other local options at the VJBL level without having to drive any further, there are still local community level options for those not good enough for rep (it is elite isn't it?).

Reply #896310 | Report this post

Two years ago

It's sad to see any club go, but for players there are plenty of options. Camberwell Dragons and Melbourne Tigers are very close. Collingwood All Stars, Nunawading, McKinnon Cougars and Waverley are other nearby options too.

Reply #896331 | Report this post

Two years ago

WE have to stop talking about "Elite" - it is kids playing basketball , domestic or rep - it's not the NBL /NBA or the Olympics.

Adding Elite - assumes entitlement and to some degree this has been the mindset at Hawthorn for years - when it comes to junior rep and seniors and Magic!

Reply #896334 | Report this post

Two years ago

A regular team nicknaming themselves All-Stars is a bit too much as well.

Reply #896335 | Report this post

Two years ago

Laughable this article

they were kept in VJBL which I think offered false hope, its a cluttered landscape and with Camberwell on its doorstep it makes sense to reduce the number the teams in the area for BV and basketball.

no kid will suffer any loss of maybe driving 5-20mins further for training, or a kid in a 4th and 5th team might not make a VJBL team and can go back to playing domestic where they should been to begin with.

Reply #896346 | Report this post

Old Coach  
Two years ago

Oh here we go again with the old 'reduce the number of rep teams' dribble.
We have enough venues, enough refs, enough coaches (after a struggle each season, admittedly), enough of everything for all the kids that currently play. You'd rather they spend friday nights on the switch or tiktok?
Rep ball is great for everyone concerned and we need to allow as many to play as we possibly can. It does not detract one iota from the best players to have lesser players also playing in another game somewhere.

Besides, there is many an elite player that has come from teams way down, and even from the second-tier club's 7ths in their young years.

I've never thought of Hawthorn particularly positively but lets hope that players don't miss out because of this situation and if they do, that BV can get Hawthorn up and running again or that some other way the void will be filled.

Reply #896349 | Report this post

Two years ago

Not sure anyone is saying that kids should miss out?
More that generally speaking the 300+ players in 'crisis' will not miss out, there are plenty of resources locally.

Reply #896350 | Report this post

Two years ago

the void is filled already thats what the CBA is

VJBL does need reducing, reducing in travel, reducing it being the only way for players to make state teams, its become a barrier for participation so it needs to revaluated rolled out.

the privileged kids whose parents can afford to drive them around in 7th teams aren't ones I'm worried about being at home or 'lost on the street' trust me they won't be they will just do something else to make mummy proud.

Can I get a list of those STARS from the 8th teams in U16s and U18s that made it

Reply #896379 | Report this post

Two years ago

Sandy had a kid make the U20's state team a couple of years ago and he was literally in their bottom team top age 16s.

Reply #896389 | Report this post

Two years ago

Kids develop at different ages, and so there will always be talented but late blooming kids that go from low teams to 1s.

Hawthorn Magic kids will find a place to play if they want to continue, and I'm sure big clubs like Camberwell and Melbourne will welcome them with open arms.

Reply #896398 | Report this post

Relaxed coach  
Two years ago

Let's see basketball associations within 15 minutes of Hawthorn.
So here is 8 that I can think of without much effort. If the kids still want to play there are lots of options for them.

Reply #896406 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

The narrative around basketball being taken away from these kids is just a little far fetched. Not sure the broader basketball community is buying any of that anyway (per the examples of opportunity above). But apparently lawyers have been engaged by that ever so keen, Hawthorn Magic bank rolling brigade.

Might be time to just sign up for another rep program at a fraction of the price?

Reply #896414 | Report this post

Two years ago

BV have had an independent organisation investigate the financials at Hawthorn , they have tried to trade on, but have realised the outgoing are far more than the revenue coming in. Simple business , you can't run at a loss.

It’s time to pull the associations licence and move on .

There some 20 plus rural basketball Clubs and communities that haven’t returned due to the pandemic , who need help. This is we’re BV should be putting in their efforts ! Don’t hear these communities carrying on.

There are so many option for City kids to play basketball and Rep

Reply #896416 | Report this post

Two years ago

BigD you named 1 kid out of the 1000s that play - nope not a big enough scope.

Reply #896528 | Report this post

Jichael Mordan  
Two years ago

I love it that some of the parents up in arms actually had their children pulled from the Hawthorn Jnr domestic league and join the newly formed Camberwell Jnr league. They aren't to blame for the position the club found themselves in last year BUT you then can’t jump up and down because your child’s rep team is about to be blown up. Partially the loss of the junior clubs last year lead to the involvement of BV. Whilst there may be a fight ahead the writing is on the wall. These parents won’t stick by the club and wait to see if it can be salvaged Tryouts start in 2 months and I’m pretty sure those Hawthorn parents aren’t going to wait.

Personally some of these kids shouldn’t be playing rep anyway, that what’s domestics for!!!!

Reply #896538 | Report this post

Two years ago

AssistantsPen - there are plenty of other examples. Too often kids are overlooked and placed in lower teams by clubs who don't have right processes or by coaches who simply prefer kids who pay for private coaching. Reality is some clubs are hopeless at picking talent, and some kids just are surprising when they develop. That’s life.

Reply #896593 | Report this post

Two years ago

So are the Lawyers for the Magic parents going after the former Board too or just blaming BV for the situation HBA find themselves in ?

AS it wasn't too long ago HBA announced the below July last year -

Basketball Hawthorn congratulates Director Matt Scriven on the announcement today of his appointment as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Basketball Australia.

Matt has lent his significant professional expertise and basketball knowledge to Basketball Hawthorn, and the Association's representative programs in particular, over the past five years.

He has been a member of the Hawthorn Magic Representative Committee since 2016, and has served as its Chair and a Basketball Hawthorn Board Director since October 2019. In that time, he has been instrumental in raising the calibre and profile of Hawthorn Magic.

As a result of his appointment, Matt will step down from his positions within Hawthorn Magic and Basketball Hawthorn immediately to take up the new role from July 5.

Matt said he would leave Basketball Hawthorn sound in the knowledge it was well poised for continued high-level success.

"I have cherished my time at Basketball Hawthorn," he said.

“Hawthorn Magic has become a destination club, to the envy of many, and the Representative Program is well placed to maintain its momentum of success.

“The Club is filled with exceptional administrators, coaches and players. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented people at Basketball Hawthorn and I’m certain the program will continue to provide strong pathways from grassroots basketball to high-performance programs.”

In addition to his role as Magic Chair, Matt has also coached Hawthorn Magic and State Development teams over the past few years and remains a parent in the Hawthorn Magic program.

Basketball Hawthorn Chair Gen Brammall said Matt had worked tirelessly during his time as Chair of Hawthorn Magic to support the program’s staff, coaches, parents and players.

“Matt combines his passion for basketball with a measured and inclusive leadership style,” she said.

“His progressive and pro-active approach has seen the Hawthorn Magic program go from strength to strength during his time at the helm. Our loss is certainly Basketball Australia’s gain.”

Reply #896663 | Report this post

Old Coach  
Two years ago

AssistantsPen - a bit of a chip on the shoulder hey. Complete misunderstanding of why kids play and why parents want them to

Reply #896671 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

Lawyers? Still don't understand what the outcome is meant to be with that.
Unbelievable that nobody appears to be actually responsible for the mismanagement of Hawthorn, but that doesn’t change the outcome.
I doubt BV were loving winding up club of the year and the shining light of the VJBL. So many disappointed boroondara residents. To be fair, most of them still seem to not have insight into why. Enlightenment might stop them ringing their friends at news outlets?

It is over.

Reply #896765 | Report this post

Two years ago

Is there a breakdown of the $900K creditors?

Reply #896769 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

I think it's less that that now. I assume members could ask? Im told it was mostly stadiums and apparel initially.

Reply #896775 | Report this post

Two years ago

They had very nice uniforms.

Reply #896787 | Report this post

Two years ago

I feel for the suppliers and venues.

Reply #896809 | Report this post

Two years ago

@ Perthworld - Totally agree

AS for those nice uniforms , a $100K error was made when Hawthorn initially ordered their new uniforms - Sponsorship wasn't confirmed and they needed to re order - Oops

So many poor decisions! Yet the people who made those decisions , have NOT been held accountable and now Magic parents are laying the blame at BV feet

Reply #896840 | Report this post

Mr Dizzy  
Two years ago


When BV took over in late 2021 the debt was nowhere near $900k

The biggest creditor was Basketball Victoria.

The only supplier that was owed money was And1, who were also a sponsor.

Jason Kelly negotiated payment plans with venues owed money, which they were happy with. Then Jason got knifed in the back.

Reply #896866 | Report this post

Two years ago

BV and AND1, okay. Glad small business didn't get burnt.

Reply #896873 | Report this post

Two years ago

Why is it ok that Hawthorn owed money to BV? That is less money that BV has for its purpose, to promote and support basketball. A proper investigative journalist should have a look at this - it all seems quite convoluted.

Reply #896880 | Report this post

Two years ago

Like the one who wrote the Herald Sun article?! Not

Hawthorn owed something like 5 years worth of registration fees and other costs too, to BV .

Clubs like these is probably one of the reasons Play HQ has been implemented .

Enough resources have been used on the financial mismanagement and trying to fix the issues at Hawthorn . Time to move on and use BV's resources in other communities and sectors who really need it.

Reply #896882 | Report this post

Two years ago

Why is it ok that Hawthorn owed money to BV?

It's not but as the authority in control why did BV let this go on for five years? It is sheer madness since they weren't blindsided as to what was going on being the main creditor.
A proper investigative journalist should have a look at this - it all seems quite convoluted.

Too bad there are no real journalists left. I am really fascinated at how the debt of an association could spiral out of control to the level it did and to the state body at that.

Reply #896883 | Report this post

Two years ago

JK knifed in the back? No way.
Laughable if it wasn't so serious as a man being put in a position of losing his job. Set up to fail? Absolutely.
The board tried to take advantage of 1000s of members of their own community to cover up their financial mistakes. Then boasted about recovering debt with that money. JK had no control of all of that damage and the board seemed unwilling to give him the power to fix it. Those payment plans hinges on charging people through the nose and the board believing the community didn’t have options.
If he blames anyone but that board, he’s barking up the wrong tree too.

Reply #896886 | Report this post

Two years ago

Perthworld: agree. The outcome here is that the entire basketball community foots the bill. AND1 isn't exactly a big business either though. Nobody deserved any of this. JK and the Hawthorn Magic staff, the remaining debtors & the local playing community at the front of that line. The board are primarily at fault but as you say, how did it get this far out of hand under BVs nose? No idea what the debt is now, but I believe it is considerably less than the 900k for sure.
Also: If there is a legal fight going on between BV and hawthorn’s parents, we are all going to pay for that too!

Reply #896888 | Report this post

Two years ago

The other question to ask , is why did the Hawthorn Board , not listen to any of the advise of the Hawthorn Audit and Risk committee, nor anything that the external auditors said.

Too busy driving the so called "strategic plan" the prior GM - Brock came up with, who was also given bonus payments on top of his $100K plus income , if he could grow the club a certain percentage each year ... regardless the cost!

This is the downfall , a GM who has not been checked or brought into line by the Board - then they praise him on the way out - after he was terminated , to the point he was employed by BV.

Total madness!

Reply #896893 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

This on a couple of days ago.
No, I have not signed the petition.

Hawthorn Magic.....It's not over yet!

Hi Magic members & those who have supported the club by signing the petition,

My name is Chris Sinicco, I sent you an update about a month ago via the coaches and thought it time again to give you some insight into what has transpired over the last few weeks. For those who did not receive the last message, I am heading up the Magic Project Group, a group of like-minded passionate Magic people who are working in good faith to try and save the club.

It has now been a month to the day that David Huxtable, Basketball Victoria (BV) General Manager - Member and Community Services, advised us that BV was not going to enter Hawthorn Magic teams into the VJBL next season. The BV decision was unexpected, and for which no proper reason has been given. It is clear to us all that this has had a very profound impact on the players and parents alike. Since late 2021, David Huxtable (BV) has been acting in the capacity of an administrator of Basketball Hawthorn, supposedly to assist the club.

Since that announcement we have been working hard in the background, you might have seen the online petition started, the article in the Herald Sun by Susie O’Brien and the informative piece on the Chanel 7 news, all of these actions have been taken to raise awareness and to garner support from the Magic and broader basketball community. We still need you!

Now we have moved on to the next stage of our campaign to save Magic, with our legal team engaging with BV and their appointed representatives. We are incredibly lucky to have been offered pro bono representation from our entire legal team, the makeup of this is as follows:

Alexandra Tighe (Partner) – Holding Redlich
Jack Trainor (Associate) – Holding Redlich
Georgeana Luong (Lawyer) – Holding Redlich

Jeffery Gleeson QC (Barrister)
Andrew Woods (Barrister)

The above-mentioned legal team and members from the Magic Project Group met recently and we are working hard to reverse the BV decision as soon as possible, to give Magic members certainty moving forward. We hope discussions between our team and BV will happen early next week with an outcome likely shortly thereafter.

It is our aim for a handing back of control of the club to the members, as should have already taken place some time ago, and we are planning for tryouts in late Sept/early Oct as per normal practice, so please bear with us whilst we work through this process with BV. We expect shortly there will be a meeting of the members called to elect a committee/board which we will require participation from the membership (YOU!).


There has been an enormous amount of hearsay and speculation surrounding the current financial position of our club so our group thought we should advise our members of exactly where we are at and where we are heading.

The financial position of the club was not given by BV as the reason for its decision not to enter our teams.

As advised previously and confirmed by BV over a month ago, at the end of this year Hawthorn Basketball Association will have an outstanding debt of $125,000 owing to one single creditor, Basketball Victoria. As tabled in our original meetings and subsequent presentations, BV offered terms to Basketball Hawthorn of Five (5) years to retire this amount. We are still confident we can meet BV’s terms for the repayment of this amount under current operations.

Our working group presented a financial and operational model that demonstrated clearly that the club was solvent and in fact would operate with a significant surplus whilst running the program as exists today. We ran the same models with significantly reduced participation in both Hawthorn Magic, and the senior domestic competition and still it ran at a significant surplus.

On the basis of that analysis and financial work, our fantastic club is primed for continued operation and significant growth. We firmly believe with a new committee/board made up of like-minded, hardworking passionate Magic people that this wonderful club will rise and become a powerful force again.

We wholeheartedly understand how difficult this has been for you, the members of our club….we also feel the same way. Now is the time to stick with us and allow us a few weeks to get things in order to prepare for the upcoming 2022/2023 VJBL season.

I will be back in touch with you all again soon.

Take care & GO MAGIC!

Reply #897288 | Report this post

Mr Dizzy  
Two years ago

Good luck Chris.

I hope Hawthorn Magic continue in 2023 just to upset certain people here.

Reply #897352 | Report this post

Two years ago

Good luck securing a court to rent in Boroondara - the Hawthorn brand is now seriously tarnished - thanks to "the Boards" financial mismanagement!

Reply #897548 | Report this post

Two years ago

Yes the board mismanaged, two of are now employed directly by basketball Victoria, another runs basketball australia
Basketball administration in this country/ state is a sh#t show and always will be!!

Reply #897553 | Report this post

Mr Dizzy  
Two years ago

Ethics101 speaking rubbish, again.

Considering Basketball Hawthorn still uses Kew HS, Auburn HS, Grethorn PS, Trinity Grammar, Boroondara Sports Complex,MLC, Wattle Park PS and Carey Grammar for Senior Domestic they still have plenty of venues willing to hire courts.

Reply #897566 | Report this post

Two years ago

@ Dizzy , you might want to check your facts who is running the Hawthorn Senior Domestic Comp - has nothing to do with Magic !

But good luck!

Reply #897578 | Report this post

Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

It feels like a few cashed up families bullied BV into a corner. Don't get me wrong, I’m sure BV have some missed steps throughout the Hawthorn saga.
But, given Hawthorn owe BV a pile of money I assume that debt would be cleared for Hawthorn teams to play VJBL at a minimum. That’s a big risk for whoever is footing that bill. Maybe you know something about the specifics Mr Dizzy as you seem to be involved at Hawthorn somehow or connected to someone that was?

Reply #897581 | Report this post

Two years ago

Anyone know which individuals are part of the Magic Project Group? Before someone commits to Magic, they should be keen to know who is behind the wheel.

Reply #897922 | Report this post

Jack Rabbit  
Two years ago

Will Oakleigh return now Hawthorn have paved the way?

Reply #897949 | Report this post

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