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Boomers To Face New Zealand In Brisbane

The Australian Boomers will begin their 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualification campaign against the New Zealand Tall Blacks on February 20 next year.


The trans-Tasman rivals will meet in Brisbane at Nissan Arena, as the Boomers hit the floor for the first time since a heartbreaking finish at September’s FIBA World Cup.


A large contingent of NBL players are expected to represent Australia in the clash against New Zealand, as NBA and European players will be unavailable for selection.


Nathan Sobey, Chris Goulding, Nick Kay, Andrew Bogut, Mitch Creek, David Barlow and Cam Gliddon all appeared at the World Cup and could be in line for another Boomers selection in February.


For New Zealand, Tom Abercrombie, Shea Ill, Finn Delany, Jarrod Kenny, Corey Webster, Rob Loe, Tohi Smith-Milner, Jordan Ngatai, Ethan Rusbatch and Alex Pledger could all be in the team.


“Basketball Australia is excited to start the defence of our FIBA Asia Cup title in Brisbane, a city and state that is passionate about basketball,” Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter said in a statement.


“2019 has been a special year for the Australian Boomers finishing a courageous fourth at the FIBA World Cup, playing two home games against USA Basketball in front of a combined crowd of 103,297, defeating world-leading nations in USA and France, and finishing the year ranked as the Number 3 team in the World.


“This game in Brisbane is a great opportunity for Queenslanders to support arguably Australia’s leading national team in an important Asia Cup qualifier against our traditional rival New Zealand.”


New Australian coach Brett Brown won’t be available for the game due to NBA commitments, but will still be involved in the preparation process.


“Due to Brett Brown’s pre-existing NBA commitments, he won’t be available for this fixture but is playing an active role in appointing the coaching staff for February’s qualifiers which we hope to announce in the coming period,” Basketball Australia High Performance Manager Jan Stirling said.


This is the first time the FIBA Asia Cup has included a qualifying phase, with the Boomers drawn in Group C alongside Guam, Hong Kong and New Zealand.


Teams will play each other twice, home and away, during the qualifying phase with three windows set for February 2020, November 2020 and February 2021.

 

The game at Nissan Arena in Brisbane on Thursday 20 February will also be the first basketball international the new venue has hosted.

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