Australia’s best basketballers will blitz the Latrobe Valley this September, playing eight NBL pre-season games in Traralgon and participating in clinics and school visits across the region.
The Victorian Government has partnered with the National Basketball League (NBL), Basketball Victoria and Basketball Victoria Country to bring the national league to regional Victoria.
Players from each of the eight NBL clubs will attend the Blitz, which leads in to the start of the NBL season on 5 October.
They will play eight matches at Traralgon Sports Stadium between 7-9 September and participate in a range of community activities including clinics and school visits around the region in partnership with Basketball Victoria Country and Basketball Victoria.
Basketball Victoria Country will host an elite coaches clinic at the Traralgon Sports Stadium on Wednesday 6 September to coincide with the NBL Blitz weekend.
It will run from 7pm-9pm featuring Australian Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis, Illawarra head coach Rob Beveridge and Melbourne United head coach Dean Vickerman and Perth Wildcats head coach Trevor Gleeson in a must-attend event for any regional coaches looking to improve their coaching.
The BVC clinics continue on Thursday 7 September – with NBL players from all teams attending school clinics in Warragul, Sale, Churchill and Morwell with wheelchair basketball clinics also run on the day to give everyone a chance to learn from the NBL’s best.
In conjunction with GippSport, BVC will also run an Indigenous 3×3 program during the games – with half-time matches for junior boys and girls to be held throughout all the NBL Blitz games.
Basketball Victoria Country general manager David Huxtable said the NBL’s desire to bring elite basketball to country Victoria showcased the impressiveness of the region’s facilities and its popularity within the sporting community.
“This is a fantastic event for the Gippsland area with all eight NBL teams and their high-profile players coming into the area for the NBL Blitz,” Huxtable said. “It’s really an amazing opportunity for basketball fans to get involved in basketball in their home town – it’s a great chance for Gippsland kids to learn from the best at our clinics and participate in the local programs.
“The NBL Blitz coming to Traralgon especially showcases the ability for regional Victoria to host major events and deliver significant economic benefit to the local region.”
Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said the NBL coming to Traralgon will show off the best of regional Victoria to Australia’s basketball community.
“This is a great initiative to see the NBL choose regional Victoria as its pre-season destination for the NBL Blitz,” Honey said. “Traralgon Sports Stadium has hosted an array of country basketball tournaments and a regional WNBL match in 2016 and will be a great host for the NBL.
“With Basketball Victoria Country delivering clinics and programs throughout Gippsland, it will prove an amazing weekend for all basketball fans throughout Victoria.
“We encourage everyone in the area to get along to the matches to support the NBL’s return to country Victoria.”
There will also be wheelchair basketball games played during half time of NBL games.
NBL Chief Executive Jeremy Loeliger thanked the Victorian Government for its support.
“This is an exciting time for the NBL and we are excited about the opportunity to host the Blitz in the Latrobe Valley,” he said.
“This is a great way to showcase the League to regional Victoria but also engage with local communities ahead of the start of our 40th anniversary season in October.”
The NBL brings the action back to suburban Melbourne on the Sunday to finish off the weekend of basketball action – with four games held at the State Basketball Centre, Kilsyth, Werribee and Whittlesea.
Member for Eastern Victoria Region Ms Harriet Shing MP said: “This is a great opportunity to bring one of Australia’s most popular sports to regional Victoria and engage with local communities.
“We are pleased to partner with the NBL on this important event which will have significant benefits for the Latrobe Valley.”
NBL BLITZ SCHEDULE – TRARALGON SPORTS STADIUM
Melbourne United v Illawarra Hawks, September 7, 5.30pm
Cairns Taipans v New Zealand, September 7, 8pm
Perth Wildcats v Adelaide 36ers, September 8, 5.30pm
Sydney Kings v Brisbane Bullets, September 8, 8pm
Cairns Taipans v Illawarra Hawks, September 9, 11.30am
Brisbane Bullets v Adelaide 36ers, September 9 2pm
Melbourne United v Sydney Kings, September 9, 5pm
Perth Wildcats v New Zealand Breakers, September 9, 7.30pm
There will also be four games held across suburban Melbourne on Sunday 10 September. All games will start at 2pm.
Melbourne United v Perth Wildcats, State Basketball Centre
Sydney Kings v Illawarra Hawks, Kilsyth
Cairns Taipans v Brisbane Bullets, Werribee
New Zealand Breakers v Adelaide 36ers, Whittlesea
Tickets for games can be purchased at www.nbl.com.au/blitz. All tickets for games at Traralgon are $12.