Napier has been confirmed as one the stops on the New Zealand Skycity Breakers' three-city pre-season tour of New Zealand in September, which will see them take on star-studded Australian national basketball league side, the Brisbane Bullets.
In a mouth-watering three game series for last season’s beaten grand finalists, the Breakers will face off against the Bullets at Napier's Pettigrew Green Area in Taradale in game two on September 15, in between the opening game in Tauranga on September 13 and the final pre-season game at Invercargill on September 17.
The Bullets have assembled a championship-contending roster under the coaching of former Breakers mentor Andrej Lemanis, as he returns to club coaching post his Australian national team commitments at the Rio Olympic Games.
Breakers general manager Dillon Boucher says the series will give fans plenty to enjoy, as well as meet the needs of both teams in the lead up to what promises to be one of the best seasons yet.
"We are delighted to be taking our show on the road and to be visiting Tauranga, Napier and Invercargill. All three regions have shown a real commitment to showcase the game of basketball and I know will put on great shows for the fans in those cities.
"Brisbane might be newly returned to the competition, but they are already being talked about as being among the favourites with the roster they have assembled. With Andrej in the driving seat you know they are going to be a well prepared, well drilled and professional team in all respects.
"And of course we are delighted with our own roster, we have been able to attract a great group of players and with two more still to sign to the fulltime roster including an import player, we are anticipating an exciting season under new coach Paul Henare."
As well as Lemanis, the Bullets will feature former Breakers player Reuben Te Rangi and include club legend CJ Bruton (one of only three players to have their numbers retired at the club) and Life Member Richard Clarke (former CEO) amongst their number on the support staff.
The Bullets roster is loaded with former or current Boomer players in Adam Gibson, Mitch Young, Tom Jervis, Cameron Bairstow and Daniel Kickert, plus exciting American Torrey Craig and a yet to be signed second American import.
And for the Breakers it will be a chance before the NBL Pre-Season Blitz in Brisbane a week later to play the entire roster for the first time, with new American import Ben Woodside, returning club favourite and New Zealand basketball legend Kirk Penney and 6’11" Tall Black Rob Loe amongst the club’s new signings.
The Breakers will have signed their second American import and final New Zealand players in time for the tour and will showcase their entire roster (injury permitting) in the three games, with club favourites Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster and Alex Pledger all raring to go in another NBL season.
Each of the venues is delighted to be bringing world class basketball to their regions.
"We are rapt to secure the SKYCITY Breakers to Hawkes Bay," said Dan Rodden, General Manager of Pettigrew Green Arena.
"To be able to do this for the community of Hawkes Bay is a great achievement. With the community engagement programme including a game it will mean everyone in the community can get to experience the Breakers while in Hawkes Bay."
SKYCITY Breakers Pre-Season Tour v Brisbane Bullets
13 September, Tauranga
ASB Arena (Truman Lane)
Tickets will be available from Ticketek and Baycourt from early next week.
15 September, Napier
Pettigrew Green Arena
Tip off 7pm
Tickets will be available via Ticketek and will go on sale soon (check www.ticketek.co.nz for details). Sales will include corporate tables and premium hosted seating along with general admission tickets.
17 September, Invercargill
ILT Stadium Southland
Surrey Park Sports Centre, Invercargill
Tip off 2pm
Tickets will be available from Ticket Direct and will go on sale in August. Ticket prices - Adult $25, Child $15, Family pass (2 adults & 2 kids) $70
SKYCITY Breakers Roster (two to be added)
Ben Woodside, USA, Point Guard, 1.80m (5 ft 11 in) 84kg
Shea Ili, Point Guard, NZL, 1.82m (6 ft) 85kg
Corey Webster, Guard, NZL, 1.87m (6 ft 2 in) 86kg
Kirk Penney, Guard, NZL, 1.95m (6 ft 5 in) 99kg
Tom Abercrombie, NZL, Swingman, 1.98m (6 ft 6 in) 94 kg
Mika Vukona, NZL, Forward, 1.98m (6 ft 6 in) 95kg
Finn Delany, NZL, Forward, 2.0m (6 ft 7 in) 102 kg
Rob Loe, NZL, Forward, 2.10m (6 ft 11 in) 111kg
Alex Pledger, NZL, Centre, 2.13 m (7 ft ) 111kg
Paul Henare, NZL, Head Coach
Judd Flavell, NZL, Assistant Coach
Michael Fitchett, NZL, Assistant Coach