Basketball: New Zealand Breakers and Wellington Phoenix join forces to appeal to Australia
Finn Delany had an impressive campaign for the NZ Breakers last season. Photo / Photosport
The New Zealand Breakers and Wellington Phoenix are about to get to know a lot more.
On Monday, the two teams will fly together from Wellington on a charter flight to Australia, with the two scheduled to be based on the other side of their divide for their upcoming ANBL and A-League campaigns.
“I think overall it will be a cool experience to have two teams representing the country in an Australian league sharing a flight together,” Breakers general manager Matt Walsh told the Herald.
“A lot of the credit goes to the Phoenix. Our GM Simon Edwards did an amazing job working with the Phoenix to organize all of this and I think it will be a lot of fun. “
Prior to finalizing the flight with the Phoenix, the Breakers did not have a confirmed date to fly, but expected them to depart anytime from late October through early November. The opportunity to fly through NSW with the Phoenix before heading to Melbourne not only cuts travel costs for both teams, but means the Breakers won’t need to quarantine themselves at their arrival in Melbourne because, from 1 November, there will be a 40-free trip between New South Wales and Melbourne.
With a little more certainty about their plans this time around, the Breakers will throw a bigger travel party as a number of player and staff family members will make the trip, while returning swingman Rasmus Bach Import point guard Jeremiah Martin and assistant coach James Reid are already in Australia and will join the team early next week.
“We’re going to have a big travel party, but it will be great for these guys to have that support,” Walsh said of the family members accompanying them.
“We have a great group of guys this year; such a hard-working group that when I made the announcement and told them they had to be ready on Monday, the resounding response was ‘let’s get to work’.”
With a confirmed travel plan, the squad can now devote their full attention to their preparations for their four preseason games against the Sydney Kings, Illawarra Hawks, Melbourne United and Southeast Melbourne Phoenix in from November 13.
With several new faces on the squad this year, including bright young French stars Ousmane Dieng and Hugo Besson, and no returning imports, Walsh said he hoped to see progress in team cohesion throughout. the preseason – with their first regular season game. December 4 away against Cairns.
“It’s a very interesting group of guys that we have. We were able to bring our core group back with guys like Tom. [Abercrombie] and finnish [Delaney], we added Yanni Wetzell who was absolutely amazing, and we have these two young guys who I’m very confident this time around next year will both play in the NBA.
“I’m pretty confident in saying this is by far the best list we’ve had; by far the most comprehensive list – when you look at our premises, our imports and we have, basically, two Next Stars – so it’s pretty exciting. “