Werribee Devils show ambition with John Dorge appointment

Werribee Devils new men's coach John Dorge. (Sean Rogasch/WBA)

By Lance Jenkinson

Werribee Devils have shown their ambition with the appointment of former Australian Boomers centre and accomplished leader John Dorge as coach of the men’s state championship team in 2020.

The Devils established themselves as a respected member of Big V Basketball top flight men’s competition under former coach Warren Estcourt and have brought in Dorge to take the team to next level.

There are few more revered or honoured members of Australian basketball than Dorge.

As a player, Dorge was a towering presence on the court, putting his 209cm frame to good use for club and country.

Dorge enjoyed a stellar NBL career spanning 13 years.

A Queenslander, Dorge had the honour of representing the Brisbane Bullets before moving to Melbourne to play with the Geelong Supercats and South East Melbourne Magic.

It was at the Magic where his reputation as a leader grew, captaining the team for five years.

He won two NBL championships with both the Bullets in 1985 and 1987 and the Magic in 1992 and 1996.

Since ending his career as a player, Dorge has turned to focus to coaching.

The 56-year-old spent seven years as an assistant coach in the NBL, five with the Cairns Taipans and two with the NZ Breakers, before taking charge of his own team in New Zealand.

He had immedate success with Harbour Heat in the New Zealand NBL, earning coach of the year honours.

Dorge returned to Australia to take on a basketball coaching role at Camberwell Grammar School and a director of coaching role with the St Monica’s College Basketball Academy.

At one point, he was a personal coach to Chris Anstey, who was playing in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls at the time.

Dorge is looking for a new challenge and arrives at Werribee ready to get to work.

“I can’t wait to get into my new role as head coach of the Werribee Devils champ men side,” Dorge said.

“Looking at it from afar, Werribee is an exciting place to be right now, the association is clearly on the up.

“I’ve seen what the women have done this season and would love to build that kind of excitement around the men’s team as well.”

Dorge, a two-time Olympian, wants to build sustainable success in the Werribee Devils men’s program.

His experience at both a professional level and a grassroots level working in school gives him a good handle on all aspects of the operation.

“I want to help develop a group of players and drive the program from our juniors in Victorian Junior Basketball League through Big V Youth League and into our champ men’s side,” he said.

“I’ve got a holistic view on player development and look forward to building a sustainable program of success.

“Back in the days when I was still playing, Werribee’s men’s side was one of the strongest in the state outside the NBL, so I’d love to see us get back into that position of strength.”

Werribee Devils player and coach development manager Reece Potter was excited to see a person of the calibre of Dorge walk through the doors of Eagle Stadium.

“John is a legend of Australian basketball and will be an outstanding asset to our championship program,” Potter said.

“He is humble and hungry to drive sustainable success.

“He understands the importance of developing local talent and mentoring up and coming coaches.

“I look forward to working with John over the next two years and seeing what he can do for basketball in Melbourne’s west.”

Dorge will bring with him a new assistant coach in Peter Fleming and they will be joined by last year’s development coach Jackie Gibson.