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Terry Jones on the Bendigo Trials

Posted by devo on February 12, 2009

Volleyball Victoria head honcho Terry Jones responds to: Vic Trials: National Junior Champs – a change

VictoriaThe idea to hold trials in Bendigo was mine and I was able to gain the support of others to allow this to take place. There was no lobby to have trials in Bendigo. Not a single request was made to me by anyone from Bendigo, Horsham, Mildura or any other Western Victoria town to hold trials in Bendigo. The comment made by Allan Hassell (Hass), that the trials were moved to Bendigo under pressure from anyone, is simply untrue.

I stand by the decision, even knowing it would attract negative comments from some, but believe it is / was the right decision. There will be up to 70 trialists coming to the trials from Western Victorian regions including, Bendigo, Horsham, Ballarat, Mildura, Warrnambool, etc. which represents about one third of the total who will attend. In my view, Bendigo was a logical centre to host 1 of the trial days to offer some relief to the players, and in particular their parents, from travelling twice to Melbourne. I also felt it would help for the Melbourne athletes and coaches to have greater empathy with the players and coaches from regional Victoria by travelling to Bendigo for trials. The helpful officials from the Bendigo Volleyball Association, Tom Stevens and Geoff Adcock, were able to source enough courts (7) for us to hold the trials there.

At the end of each cycle of the State Team Program every head coach is required to complete a report on his/her team which is then tabled and discussed by the State Team Program Committee as part of their review of the year. All reports submitted are sent to the State Team Program Committee prior to the meeting so the contents and recommendations to improve the program can be digested prior to our meeting. In the last two years there were recommendations from State Team Coaches to revert from the 4 trials held in 2007 and 2008 (2 in Horsham and 2 in Melbourne) over 3 weekends, to just 2 trials. The State Team Program Committee agreed with the coaches that the system of having 4 trials had become unwieldly and having triallists for all teams in one place with all coaches present was a better option. The model which Allan Hassell (Hass) promotes does not have support from the State Team Committee nor the coaches.

Each year we also hold a State team Coaches forum after appointments have been confirmed and prior to the trials to discuss the program and how it can be improved. I firmly believe that all of our coaches want our program to grow successfully. The last such meeting was held two weeks ago. Allan Hassell did not attend.

The Gold Teams were established 4 years ago and in our first year we were able to field Under 17 Boys coached by David Berry (Horsham) and Under 17 Girls coached by Brian Holding (Sebastopol). It has continued to evolve to the point where last year we had 4 teams, as we will do this year. We believe that we have helped provide a player development pathway for athletes from Western Victoria by establishing the Gold Teams. In the past the athletes from these areas were disadvantaged as many could not commit to the time and/or expense associated with travelling to Melbourne for six months of trials and training.

The essential difference between the programs is that the Blue and White teams train weekly and the Gold teams have a monthly weekend camp.

The Blue Team remains the states number one team and by having all athletes in an age group at 1 place allows the Blue Team coaches to have a look at every player in their age group and pick the best team. It also promotes better communication between the Blue, White and Gold coaches, and all work together.

There is a perception that the Gold Team is made up only of players from Western Victoria. Not so. In the past two years there have been up to 3 Melbourne players in 1 Gold Team. The MVP in 1 Gold team last year was from Melbourne. There are players from Melbourne who prefer the camp based monthly training. They prefer it because they can study on the other three weekends each month, or they can hold down part time jobs where they work 3 weekends out of 4, so it suits them better to be in a Gold Team.

All players who attend trials have the opportunity to make themselves available for only Blue, White or Gold, or all teams, on the forms that they complete.

In concluding, there has been some comments made about the Presidents Cup. In the past 8 years Victoria has won it on 4 occasions and lost 2 on countback (after finishing on equal top points with Queensland). Last year we were a 2nd behind a great Queensland contingent. There has been some talk with officials from Queensland, who very much like our Gold Team concept and wish to replicate it in Queensland with perhaps a Nth Queensland Squad. The problem is that the AVF have asked the State ED’s last year to look at reducing the number of teams we enter, as the AJVC has become too big, in their view. The number of teams states sent to future championships may be limited to just two. I hope not.


Terry Jones, Executive Director, Volleyball Victoria

5 Responses to “Terry Jones on the Bendigo Trials”

  1. Big Ren said


    Great to have a press release and bash a hall of famer like Allan Hassell. He personally has driven volleyballs popularity throughout the country and coached many state and high school teams.

    What have you done hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

  2. Hulk said

    In reference to “Reply from Volleyball Victoria ED”

    I find it most unprofessional for the ED of our State to personally attack a respected member of the Volleyball community.

    The trials had been published as two trials in Melbourne, supported by reviews from 11 of the 14 State coaches and the State steering committee, prior to Christmas. At the time the VVI office had closed for Christmas, the decision was made by the ED to change venues, apparently under no pressure from anyone. School teachers, coaches and players had left for Christmas holidays believing there to be two trials in Melbourne.

    Why did the ED make this decision?

    I feel that had the volleyball community been consulted (or at least the coaching staff) this decision could then be justified, however like a lot of the decisions made by VVI, where is the due process (or thought ???).

    This is a Junior Program and as such we are reliant on Parents, Academies and/or Schools to transport Athletes to the trials. Taking such a change and not informing the volleyball community has left a lot of Melbourne based athletes unable to arrange transport as they have only just arrived back at school and found the trials have moved. No reference has been made in the ED response about the extra inconvenience for Gippsland athletes.

    Previously Athletes were expected to attend both Trials to allow coaching staff the best chance of selecting the correct Athletes. Has the move to Bendigo trial given the coaches the best oppertunity to select the right Athletes? More importantly was this even considered in the change of venue for which coaches were not consulted.

    With due process and timing, including feedback from schools, clubs, coaches, academies and parents the same decision MAY have been arrived at, however for the ED to make such a decision at that time of year, when schedule had already been released, with little or no communication to the volleyball community, I feel is appalling.

    For the ED to then attack a member of the volleyball community in this forum is disgraceful.

  3. Terry said

    I do not believe there is anything “unprofessional” in providing facts and the rationale and background information on why there will be trials held in both Bendigo and Melbourne to provide some balance.

    There was no personal “attack” made by myself on Allan Hassell. I simply elected to respond to his comments. Allan is a great contributor to the development of Volleyball in this State, and Mildura in particlur. He along with David Berry was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Gold teams 4 years ago. When we did establish the Gold teams there was a great deal of negative comment made but now people see the benefits and accept that it is providing benefits. I hope in time that people will see that holding trials in Bendigo each year is a positive and is fair.

    The decision to have trials in both Melbourne and Bendigo caters to the fact that many of the athletes and coaches from our State Team Program are from regional Victoria. The rationale of determining venues for Gold Team training camps is that if you have 3 players from Horsham, Mildura and Bendigo and 1 from Melbourne the 3 camps are shared between the three regional locations as that is where the majority of players are coming from. Having trials in Bendigo which is convenient for a third of the athletes is an extension of that rationale.

  4. Hulk said


    Would you like to address the issue of timing of the decision, lack of consultation with coaches on the decision and the communication of the decision given all had been advised of the schedule. The coaches whom have the responsibility for making the selection of athletes, are affected by the venue change and ability of athletes to attend both trials.

    Whether moving the trial to Bendigo is or isn’t the correct decision is yet to be determined by the volleyball community and is not the issue, the process undertaken and timing is.

    Has the decision be made without any discussions to the volleyball community to hold these in Bendigo permanently? (paragraph 2)

    In relation to Gold team trainings, why is it then, prior to selection determined that all last month weekly camps will be in Horsham. To me this would discourage any Gippsland (and potentially Warrnambool) athlete from choosing this program. Would it not be better to determine location after squad is selected?
    (i.e. 5 Gippsland, 2 Warrnambool, 3 Mildura may be weekly trainings are 1 in each centre or all in Melbourne.)

  5. Caveman said

    It seems to me that Terry Jones must be going into “Politics” why else would he making decisions “on the run” and not giving anyone any chance to say or do anything about it !

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