‘THROWDOWN’ TO OPEN 2019-20 HUNGRY JACK’S NBL SEASON
History will be made on October 3 when the NBL’s newest team South East Melbourne Phoenix goes head to head with cross town rival Melbourne United in the first ever Throwdown.
The Phoenix will make its NBL debut against last year’s runners-up in what’s expected to be a sell-out game at Melbourne Arena to open the 2019-20 Hungry Jack’s NBL season.
NBL Chief Executive Jeremy Loeliger said: “The Throwdown between Melbourne United and South East Melbourne will reignite the massive Melbourne rivalries of the ‘90s and will be an historic opening to what shapes as the NBL’s biggest season ever.”
In a blockbuster opening round, Melbourne United will also meet reigning champions the Perth Wildcats in a replay of last year’s Grand Final on October 5 and global teenage sensation LaMelo Ball will make his debut for the Illawarra Hawks against the Brisbane Bullets on October 6.
NBL superstar Casper Ware will play his first game for the Sydney Kings against the Cairns Taipans on October 4 following his defection from Melbourne United at the end of last season.
These are among several highlights of the schedule for the 2019-20 season released today including:
- Highly rated 2020 NBA Draft prospect RJ Hampton to make his debut for the SKY Sport New Zealand Breakers against the Kings at Qudos Bank Arena on Friday October 18
- South East Melbourne to play its first home game against Brisbane on Sunday October 13
- Adelaide to play its first home game at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday October 19 against Brisbane
- A Melbourne Cup Eve blockbuster between Melbourne United and the Sydney Kings on Monday November 4
- The first game between Illawarra and New Zealand featuring Next Stars RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball at Spark Arena on Thursday October 24
- An open air game between Melbourne and Cairns at Melbourne Arena on Boxing Day
- Two games on Australia Day including Sydney v Melbourne at Qudos Bank Arena
- The return of the Australian Open game on January 29 between Melbourne and Perth
- Two games featuring the Illawarra Hawks in Canberra (dates to be confirmed)
- Two games on New Year’s Eve and a game on New Year’s Day featuring Adelaide and Perth at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre
CLICK HERE FOR 2019-20 HUNGRY JACK’S NBL SCHEDULE
With the addition of a ninth team in the Phoenix, there will be a total of 126 games across the season, an increase of 14 games from last season. Each team will play 28 games.
Every club will play four teams four times during the season with two games at home and two away. They will play the remaining four teams three times across the season with games split between home and away.
Loeliger said: “We saw record attendances and broadcast audiences last season and we hope this will be another record breaking season.
“We will see the return of big name stars such as Andrew Bogut after his NBA stint with Golden State Warriors and quality imports including Bryce Cotton, Casper Ware, Melo Trimble and Shawn Long.
“Adelaide will play in a new venue, we will have two games in Canberra and highly rated NBA prospects in RJ Hampton, LaMelo Ball, Terry Armstrong and Didi Louzada joining the league as part of our Next Stars program.
“With the Boomers to play the USA in August followed by the FIBA World Cup in China in September, there’s never been a more exciting time for basketball in Australia and New Zealand.”
Times and broadcast details for all games will be announced soon.