Anthony Dionis: Mill Park Rebelz Basketball Club
The coach who jumps through hoops to be inclusive
Anthony Dionis is no ordinary sports club president and the Mill Park REBELZ is no ordinary team.
With his mantra of “every child can play”, Anthony works hard to ensure every player who puts on a REBELZ singlet feels like a winner - no matter the final score.
Over the past five years, he has dedicated himself to ensuring that the Mill Park REBELZ basketball club is an inclusive and affordable club that operates on the principles of fun, fitness and participation so all members have a positive experience.
“It is about the kids having fun because it is a domestic club, not a rep club, and one of our strongest points is that every player gets an equal amount of court time, whatever their skill level,” Anthony says.
Despite running his own business, Anthony devotes countless hours every week to the club, coaching multiple teams, chairing committee meetings, mentoring junior coaches and actively participating in fundraisers.
Last year, he and a group of other club members took that dedication a step further and established a special needs academy within the club, making it possible for children with varying needs and abilities to feel supported and included.
He now coaches the academy on top of his other work, describing it as a fantastic experience for kids and parents alike.
“Many of these kids have never had an opportunity to participate in organised sport before and they absolutely love it,” he says.
Anthony says it feels great to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero.
The club will use its $10,000 Westfield grant to buy new training equipment for the club’s domestic teams and the special needs academy. It will also fund the development of coaches to upskill and attract more people.
“The special needs academy alone costs about $3,000 per season to run and we have been funding it out of our own pockets so this money will be a huge benefit,” Anthony says.