After the huge success of last year’s event in Wellington, the Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash between the Australian Indigenous team and New Zealand Maori National team will be held again this year, this time in Mackay, Queensland.
Played from September 24-26, the event will be a three-game series with all games played at the Mackay Basketball Multi-Sports Stadium.
The winner will be determined by games won with the Australian Indigenous team seeking revenge from 2014 when the Maori’s were 18-point victors in Game 1 before clinching the series on point differential despite losing Game 2, 105-110.
Queensland Basketball League’s Program Manager, Joel Khalu, is thrilled to be hosting an event of this calibre.
“It’s not only fantastic for the Mackay Basketball club, but for the entire Mackay community,” Khalu said.
“Regional places are sometimes starved for high-level sporting events, so this is definitely something that will generate a lot of buzz.”
Run concurrently with the men’s tournament this year, New Zealand will also bring over a national Maori’s women’s team to face the Mackay Meteorettes QBL team in a three-game exhibition series.
“It’s great to have the women involved this year and in particular, having the Mackay women’s representative side participate,” said Khalu.
“It will definitely be an exciting match up, with the NZ Maori women’s side being strong and physical and the Mackay Meteorettes being three-time defending QBL champions.”
From last year’s men’s side, Darryl McDowell-White will return after he helped Australia over the line in Game 2 with 18 of his 24 points coming in the fourth quarter.
He will be accompanied by his brother and fellow returnee William McDowell-White as well as Deba George who led the Indigenous All-Stars in scoring in both games, brothers Chris and Michael Cedar, Curt Ahwang, Tidjane Diop and Steve Hall who all participated in 2014.
Rounding out the side will be Kerry Williams from Cairns Marlins, Verle Williams Snr. from Southwest Metro Pirates, Zach Bourne from Gold Coast Rollers and Reece Craigie from Sutherland Sharks.
“The inaugural 2014 series was amazing,” said Khalu.
“To see it become a reality was pretty special and not only was the basketball played at such a high and exciting level, teams also took part in a number of cultural and community engagement events too.
“Mackay has a tremendous basketball support base, so hopefully we’ll have a sold out stadium for all three days.”
The 2015 Australian Indigenous All-Stars: Curt Ahwang (Cairns Marlins), Zach Bourne (Gold Coast Rollers), Chris Cedar (Mackay Meteors), Michael Cedar (Gladstone Power), Reece Craigie (Sutherland Sharks), Tidjane Diop (Mackay Meteors), Deba George (Albury-Wodonga Bandits), Steve Hall (Coburg Giants), Darryl McDowell-White Jnr. (Brisbane Spartans), William McDowell-White (Townsville Heat), Kerry Williams (Cairns Marlins), Verle Williams Snr. (Southwest Metro Pirates).