The Deakin Melbourne Boomers have been a part of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) since 1984, making the club both the oldest WNBL club and the longest-running elite-level women’s sports team in Australia (in any sport).
For 30 years the team was known as the Bulleen Boomers, before transforming into the Melbourne Boomers in 2013. Deakin University became the club’s Naming Rights partner in 2014.
The iconic brand of the Boomers is both nationally and internationally recognised, most notably for being home to more Olympians and Opals than any other basketball club across Australia.
The Boomers have won two WNBL Championships – 2010/11 and 2021/22.
The WNBL program was created by Bulleen-Templestowe Basketball Club (BTBC) until 2016 when a new ownership group assumed ownership of the Boomers.
PURPOSE AND VISION
Our Purpose: We exist to make a difference for women through basketball
Our Vision: Equality in Basketball
Our Trademarks: We are Inspiring; We are United and Fearless; We are Professional and Accountable
THE EARLY YEARS
The Boomers’ first coach was Trevor Cook and the initial team included Michele Timms and Samantha Thornton who both went on to represent Australia with distinction in future years. The club first qualified for the WNBL finals in 1989 under the guidance of coach Paul Deacon and, after progressing to the same stage the following year, missed the playoffs until 1996 when, in coach Lori Chizik’s first season, Bulleen finished third in the regular season before bowing out in the semi finals.
Chizik led the Boomers to the 1999/00 preliminary final, the club’s best ever result to that point. Cheryl Chambers took over in 2001/02 and steered the club to two finals appearances, including the 2004/05 preliminary final.
The Boomers called Sheahan’s Road Basketball Centre, Keilor Basketball Stadium, the Melbourne Entertainment Centre and the Veneto Club home before moving to the State Basketball Centre in 2014.
Since its inception, Bulleen was a club-based program. The club developed a semi-professional program with key players up to 2000 including some of Australia’s best ever basketballers, such as Debbie Slimmon, Samantha Russell, Karin Maar, Tammy Good, Gaylene McKay, and Cheryl Chambers.
However, none have had a bigger influence on Australian hearts and minds than Michele Timms. Timms has long been recognised as the most talented female basketballer Australia has ever produced. As a three-time Olympian, four-time World Championship athlete and Australian captain, she represented Australia with absolute excellence.
Still one of the most recognisable Australian athletes in the country, Timms was a pioneer for young Australian female basketballers – she was the first Australian to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association(WNBA) and also had a successful career in Europe and the US.
Timms is commonly referred to as the Patron of the Boomers and the club’s annual MVP award is struck in her name.
In the early 2000s the likes of Katrina “Froggy” Hibbert and Hollie Grima formed the backbone of Boomers teams. Hibbert won back-to-back League MVP awards during the 2004/05 and 2005/06 season while Grima followed up her World Championship gold medal with the Opals in 2006 by being crowned league MVP in 2006/07 and then winning Silver at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The heart and soul as the Club headed towards a sustained period of success later that decade were club stalwarts Desiree Glaubitz and Sharin Milner. Both have been rewarded with Opals squad selection and Milner is twice winner of the WNBL Golden Hands Award (2003/04 and 2008/09).
In 2009 and 2010 and following a grand final appearance in 2009/10, the addition of players such as Liz Cambage, Rachel Jarry and Jenna O’Hea provided the final pieces to the puzzle and in March 2011, the Boomers were crowned WNBL Champions for the first time under the leadership of coaching team of Tom Maher (Head Coach) and Michele Timms (Assistant), and Co-captains Sharin Milner and Desi Glaubitz (who retired after this season).
Another Grand Final appearance followed in 2011/12 however the WNBL program entered a period of decline after this season.
A NEW CHAPTER – 2014 TO NOW
Seeing the need to expand the fan base of the Boomers, BTBC changed the team name from “Bulleen” to “Melbourne” in 2014 to target a wider area of population and boost crowd numbers. The team also changed its colours from blue and gold to purple and gold (which remain today). And finally, the Boomers relocated its home games to the State Basketball Centre
In 2016 the ownership of the Boomers moved to a new group of investors. The ownership group all have a passion for women’s basketball and wanted to ensure the Boomers continue to grow as Australia’s most iconic women’s basketball team.
Led by Head Coach Gut Molloy and a talented roster of experienced and younger athletes, in season 2017/18 the Boomers returned to the finals and fell just short in the Grand Final series against Townsville. In a groundbreaking season for Melbourne’s WNBL club, the Boomers recorded the highest crowds in the WNBL, including a season-best 3,655 on January 18.
The 2018/19 Season once again saw the Boomers reach the WNBL finals series, only to fall devastatingly short in the semi-finals against Adelaide. Despite missing out on the Grand Final, this season was still a success for the Boomers, who once again drew big crowds to their games, and were able to provide a great atmosphere and fan experience at their home venue, State Basketball Centre.
2019/20 saw another heartbreaking Semi-Final series loss to Canberra but the core of the team was formed with athletes such as Cayla George, Lindsay Allen, and Ezi Magbegor now with the team for three seasons.
The 2020 season was interrupted by the COVID pandemic and held in a shortened period in Far North Queensland. Cayla and Ezi lead the team and were joined by fan favourite Tess Madgen who had played with the Club in 2013-15. The team made its fourth successive finals appearance losing the preliminary final to Townsville.
Ezi, Tess and Cayla were re-joined for the 2021-22 season by Penina Davidson and Izzy Wright. With Lindsay Allen returning from the USA and new WNBA star Tiffany Mitchell, the Boomers won their second WNBL Championship with a win in Game 3 of the Grand Final series over the Perth Lynx.
For Head Coach Guy Molloy this was the culmination of 9 years of work leading the Boomers program having announced at the start of the season that it would be his last.
In 2021 the redevelopment of the State Basketball Centre commenced and as a result, the Boomers relocated their training and playing base to Melbourne Sports Centre Parkville (next to Melbourne Zoo).