Breakers to play in Invercargill

Shea Ili drives to the hoop against David Barlow during a Breakers playoff match against...
Shea Ili drives to the hoop against David Barlow during a Breakers playoff match against Melbourne United last year. Photo: Getty Images
It's confirmed - the New Zealand Breakers will play an Australian National Basketball League (ANBL) game in Invercargill in November.

ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said it had been the long-term goal of the venue to lock in a Breakers competition game.

Invercargill has previously hosted pre-season Breakers games, but this year's showdown with Melbourne United on Friday, November 16, will be the first ANBL game to be played in Invercargill.

The Breakers will also play a competition game at ILT Stadium Southland during the 2019-20 season as part of a two-year deal.

Skelt had been in negotiations with Breakers general manager Dillon Boucher for some time and was able to put together a funding package to get it across the line.

The package equated to $90,000, with the Invercargill City Council, Invercargill Licensing Trust and Community Trust of Southland putting in $10,000 each.

Skelt said the backing ''was a real show of faith'' for basketball in the South. Now it was a matter of the Southland public playing its part, he said.

A crowd figure of about 2000 was needed to ensure the remainder of that $90,000 package was met.

''We are treating this as an international fixture. There will be a real transtasman element to it.''

As part of the deal, the players will be involved in various public engagements in Invercargill during their stay.

Confirmation the Breakers will play in Invercargill came hard on the heels of the Southland Sharks winning the New Zealand National Basketball League this month.

There will be a strong Sharks connection to the game, with Jarrad Weeks in the Breakers squad and Sharks coach Judd Flavell an assistant coach with the Breakers.

New Breakers coach Kevin Braswell was also a long-serving Sharks player.

Popular Sharks big man Alex Pledger will also return to Invercargill in November, lining up for Melbourne United.

-By Logan Savory

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