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NBL tip-off set for December, with fans

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The Tasmania JackJumpers will commence their inaugural NBL season by hosting the opening game against the Adelaide 36ers in Hobart, with the league pushing back the start date to maximise crowd attendance.

In a double-header opening night, the Perth Wildcats will face the Brisbane Bullets at RAC Arena in Perth.

Originally set for November 18, tip-off has been rescheduled for Friday, December 3, with the NBL saying the priority is getting supporters back into stadiums.

“While it’s only a few weeks later than we originally planned, the new start date gives us a greater level of comfort and flexibility as we navigate through the current environment and prioritise having our growing number of fans courtside around the country and in New Zealand,” Hungry Jack’s NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said in a statement Tuesday.

The New Zealand Breakers will again relocate to Australia to start the season before being expected to head home in the new year.

Melbourne begin their championship defence on December 5 against the Sydney Kings, with Matthew Dellavedova making his NBL debut for United.

Other highlights of the schedule include a Boxing Day triple-header with games in Sydney, Brisbane and Tasmania while Illawarra and Cairns will host games on New Year’s Eve.

Loeliger says the NBL has contingencies built into the schedule for when borders reopen, vaccination rates hit targets and crowds are allowed back in arenas.

“We are confident that as the country opens back up, our schedule will open up with it and we will get back to running the competition like we used to with all teams playing and travelling from their home bases.”

AAP

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