For most local clubs, the ‘holy grail’ of junior development is to have a player start with you early in their WABL career, make their way through the age groups and eventually play a meaningful role in your NBL1 team. Our men’s NBL1 program features several long-term juniors and Lachlan Bertram is one who has been with us since he was U12.
2020 was quite a year for Lachie who played both U20 WABL as well as the 2020 West Coast Classic. He didn’t just play a pivotal part in taking the U20s through to a Grand Final, but also took home league MVP honours for the season, scoring at an insane clip of 35ppg.
For Lachie, as for many of our players, Redbacks is ‘home’:
“I first arrived at Redbacks in under 12s after moving over from Melbourne with my family. This is the only club I’ve played for so that first decision was clearly a good one.
The club is pretty special to me from the boys in the team to the people on the Board and everyone in between. The club feels like family, the team has a great culture, so it was a pretty easy decision to come back for 2021. Also, given we already had a team together that pretty much made it to the finals last year – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Lachie definitely feels this team is destined for success in 2021:
“Last year, even though we had our ups and downs, we played at such a high level for most of the season and still felt we could have done better with the group we had. Missing out on finals by one point is going to push everyone a bit harder again this year. This group is definitely capable of doing something special.”
With regard to his own game, Lachie is happy with how things are developing:
“Working closely with Marty Nelson for the last two years and stealing some moves and tips from him has really helped me because he’s someone I can definitely model my game on. I’m learning a lot from Wags as well obviously and if I went to another club chasing more minutes I don’t think I would have developed as well as I have as a player.”
Lachie on having CJ Jackson as a coach:
“His play style and the way he coaches fits the way I play so well. He gives you a lot of freedom in the offence and I definitely am glad that he’s our coach.”
The challenge for coach CJ Jackson is to find playing minutes for players like Lachie in a squad that is much stronger than 2-3 years ago when LB first entered the SBL program:
“We know what LB’s capable of as a flat out scorer. He had a 50-point game in the U20s last year, averaged 35ppg and played a key role in an undermanned West Coast Classic win we had over Kalgoorlie last season. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity for players like him to be fighting for minutes in our team as it makes everyone work harder and holds everyone accountable. Lachie’s time will come for sure because he works so hard and just loves the game.”
NBL1 Director thinks Lachie is on the edge of a breakout season:
“Lachie is ready to take his game to the next level. He had an outstanding 2020 season in the Under 20s and also got some good minutes at SBL level. We are excited to see what LB brings in 2021, knowing the amount of work that he puts in off the court.”
As for Lachie, he’s excited about SBL becoming NBL1, but doesn’t think it’s going to change much for the team internally:
“It definitely makes the league more exciting to be part of, but it doesn’t change what we do as a team or what I do as a player. The boys are happy to just compete against one another whether there are lots of eyes on the game or not. That competitiveness is going to continue and more people will just be able to watch. Even without the exposure we’d still all be going 100 per cent to win the championship but this just makes it a bonus to have more eyes being able to see what we do.”