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Reigning champs: Gippy United's Men's side have been elevated to Division 1 for 2023. Photos: supplied



THE Big V returns this week and the Gippsland Physiotherapy Group Gippsland United Men’s and Women’s teams are primed for season 2023.

After winning the Division 2 title in 2022, the men have been elevated to Division 1.

Head Coach Scott MacKenzie, has recruited Oliver Amajoyi to the team after Brandon Armstrong made the decision not to return for family reasons.

Amajoyi is a strong, physical player that is able to play both the Power Forward and Centre positions.

With tremendous athleticism and a seven foot, two inch wingspan, he is ready to make an immediate impact.

Coach MacKenzie is looking forward to the challenge of Division 1 competition and believes that his group has a bright year ahead.

They have managed to retain nine of last season’s Division 2 Championship team which has been a bonus for the coaching staff.

Along with Amajoyi, also new to the group are Elliott Hunt (Maffra CBL), Jayden McMillin (Warragul CBL), Nick McKenzie (Korumburra CBL), Riley Morehu (Warragul CBL) and Nicholas Prowd (Korumburra CBL), who will play an important part in the teams make up this season.

Billy Hughes is back to full fitness after an ankle injury last season, and all players have reached a good level of fitness to start Round 1.

They have such an even-talented group, but young guns Kody Tibballs and Rohan Demczuk will be ones to watch, as their game goes to another level.

The Men’s side will have co-captains this season with last year’s captain, Simon Vannapreseuth, now joined by good mate and veteran, Jordan Canovan, in the main leadership role.

They will be complimented by a strong leadership group including Ben Barlow, Hughes and Stephen O’Brien along with both captains.

The Women’s team is being lead by new head coach Brad Rooff.

Rooff brings a wealth of experience to Gippsland, after coaching multiple clubs at different age levels across Victoria.

Rooff is excited to welcome back import MaKenzie Miller for 2023, who will co-captain the team alongside Joey Watson.

“Pre-season has gone well with us working hard on bringing everything together. Blending our new group with a mix of returning and new players. With only one player over 23 years of age, we are a youthful team with plenty of high IQ players,” Rooff said.

When asked about his players, Rooff made note of last year’s MVP Chloe Hogg, highlighting that while she will continue to be a dominant force on offence she has been working harder on her personal game at the defensive end.

Rooff is excited about the addition of Lauren Tuplin, who will add some offensive firepower, and predicted that 17-year-old Emily Scholtes will have a great season in a new role as a taller “point/forward”.

Both teams play away for the first two rounds, the clubs first home game is on Sunday, April 2, at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium.