MELBOURNE – As the Nunawading Spectres prepare for the NBL1 South 2023 season, they do so without the on-court presence of one of their staples of the past six season; import Dain Swetalla, the 2019 NBL1 Finals MVP calling time on an impressive career that saw him play around the globe.
Swetalla arrived at Nunawading in 2017, having played in a 3×3 Tournament that summer with soon-to-be Spectres teammates Simon Conn, Jesse Casperz and Ambros Eugster – the then SEABL Head Coach Dave Biwer certain this was the missing piece to his teams’ success. That year, the Spectres fell agonizingly short in the semifinal to a talented Pioneers side in Mount Gambier. They improved in 2018 but again fell shy in the Championship game to Hobart.
A new era was born in 2019 with the introduction of the NBL1 competition, the Spectres reloaded with a chip on their shoulder and Dain Swetalla drove his Nunawading team, alongside McDonald, Conn, Wright, Hronopoulos and Co. to championship success, claiming Finals MVP in process.
“It’s a special feeling and winning a title at any level is not easy to do,” Swetalla said. “But when you get to do it alongside such an outstanding group of men, in a country I now call home, it changes how you see the game.”
Swetalla and his team lost the opportunity to defend their championship, Covid eliminating any opportunity to get back on-court in 2020, then wreaking havoc on the 2021 schedule before ultimately a second cancelled season.
“The next two years of covid, were… the next two years. But following that, some changes were made giving me the opportunity to be a part of a special rebuild and a changing of the guards.”
“We were getting old – it was time. The introduction of Coach Cutler and a young talented core presented a new approach that presented new challenges, but that’s part of being a pro. I had the privilege to play alongside the future of the club. That is something I’m proud to say I was a part of, and I can say confidently, the future looks bright.”
“Dain has been a significant part of our program over the past six years,” Nunawading Basketball Operations Manager Paul Flynn said. “Not simply for the impact he has had on court at SEABL and NBL1 level, but for the immeasurable contributions he has made to our junior representatives. There is a substantial volume of ‘unseen hours’ invested by Dain in the next generation of Spectres’ athletes, paired with him being at the forefront of partnership projects like our Forest Hill College Basketball Academy Program.”
“On behalf of the Melbourne East Basketball Association and its representative teams – the Nunawading Spectres, I would like to thank and congratulate Dain on his outstanding playing career and look forward to his continued influence and success as a part of our program moving forward.”
Swetalla’s career has seen him move from smalltown Iowa, to Romania, Spain, Serbia, Portugal, and Australia – a place he now calls home. Whilst the playing chapter of his life may now have come to an end, basketball will still be at the very front of his daily routine.
“Those who know me, know that I’m far from removing myself from the game. In fact, I’m more immersed than ever and excited about where the coaching phase of life will lead. Melbourne basketball and the diverse Australian basketball culture in its entirety, is special… Thanks for letting me be a part of it.”