Rob Thomson is Kalgoorlie-Boulder basketball’s Mr Everywhere

Kelsey ReidKalgoorlie Miner
Goldfields Giants division 1 women’s coach Rob Thomson talks with the team during a time out.
Camera IconGoldfields Giants division 1 women’s coach Rob Thomson talks with the team during a time out. Credit: Kelsey Reid

If you go to the basketball stadium in Kalgoorlie on any given night, you’ll almost definitely find dedicated player, referee and coach Rob Thomson there.

The 40-year-old was about to start his second season as the head coach of the Goldfields Giants division 1 women’s team before the season was put on hold because of COVID-19.

During the summer season his roles include being the co-ordinator of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Basketball Association’s referees, refereeing about 11 games on average per week from seniors to juniors; he is also the president of one of Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s oldest basketball clubs CBC, and plays in the club’s division 1 side, where he has played for nine seasons after former club Scotch folded.

“I’d be up there six nights a week, probably on average three hours a night I guess,” he said.

“It’s a lot.”

Front: Riley Duncan, Joshua Mccamish, Nathan Vince and Jacob Basten.
Camera IconFront: Riley Duncan, Joshua Mccamish, Nathan Vince and Jacob Basten. Credit: Tori O'Connor/Tori O'Connor

Despite his many roles in the sport, Thomson has been in Australia’s unofficial gold capital for only 13 years, moving across in 2007 with his wife Fiona.

Born and bred in Warburton in Victoria, a town nestled on the edge of the Yarra Ranges National Park, the couple headed west, leaving the winding rivers and mountains for the red dust and towering headframes, looking to make a dime in the mining industry.

“At that stage it was just my wife Fi and I,” he said.

“Like a lot of people that come from interstate, we came for two years just to try and make some money and head back to Victoria.

“We’ve been here now 13 years.

“I started off working in the mines, then I worked for a ground support company that supported the mines then eventually once we started having kids it was a bit too dangerous to be working underground and things like that so I’ve been at Online (Business E-Systems) for nearly 10 years.”

That’s another thing I love being part of the development of the young ones, there’s that opportunity so I thought I’d give that a crack

Rob Thomson

The Thomsons now have three daughters — Abby, nine, Grace, seven, and Rose, five — all born in the Goldfields.

“My sisters and also my mum and dad came across (to Kalgoorlie-Boulder), and my wife’s brother is over here as well,” Thomson said.

“There’s been a few of us trek over and we’re all from the same sort of area.”

Another of Thomson’s roles in basketball includes coaching in the Goldfields Basketball Talent Identification Program all year round under the academy’s founders and respected coaches Marcus Taylor and Geoff Hobba.

“It’s not full-time but something I help out with when I’m available, obviously with the Giants that takes precedence,” he said.

Rob Thomson drives for CBC.
Camera IconRob Thomson drives for CBC. Credit: Kalgoorlie Miner

“Marcus and Geoff have been great role models, I have learnt heaps off them.

“That’s another thing I love being part of the development of the young ones, there’s that opportunity so I thought I’d give that a crack.

“I’m getting to the end of my playing career — for me coaching is just the progression of where I’ll head to now.”

After nine seasons with CBC’s top men’s side, which included premierships in 2016-17 and 2019-20, Thomson is focusing more on moving to the other side of the court.

With three daughters and two sisters who are also involved in the local basketball scene — Emily played for the Giants in their first two seasons and his other sister Kate shares referee duties at the KBBA — Thomson understands the value and importance of women’s sport.

“I guess particularly because of my daughters, opening up the opportunity for the women is a big motivation for me,” he said.

“Pretty much all three of them have had a go — they are all pretty young. They’re trying to figure out what they like.”

With huge crowds turning out to watch the Goldfields Giants’ home games, Fiona and the girls are there to support the local teams, and their husband and dad.

“They love it,” he said. “We sort of made Abby our junior team manager — we gave her that title.

“She just loves being around the girls, they were really good with her, treated her really well so she was really excited about being involved.”

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