Australian Turnstiles – NBL Teams Announce NBA Tour
NBL Teams to Match Up Against NBA Heavyweights
As Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) continues its renaissance, five teams have confirmed pre-season match ups in North America against the best the NBA can offer. The biggest story will be the reigning NBL champs, Melbourne United, taking on Ben Simmons and the 76ers in Philadelphia on Friday, September 28th. Meanwhile Andrew Bogut is likely to make his debut for the Sydney Kings in Hawaii in a match up with the Los Angeles Clippers. In other games, the Utah Jazz will host both the Perth Wildcats and the Adelaide 36ers, while Melbourne will also face off with Toronto. The final two games see Perth in Denver, and the New Zealand Breakers taking on Phoenix. The NBL had a bumper 2017/18 season with record crowds, and are no doubt hoping the pre-season friendlies will give the league a flying start to 2018/19.
A-League Expansion Shortlist Confirmed
Ten bids are now vying for two expansion franchises, after Football Federation Australia (FFA) named their shortlist. Each bid is now required to submit full proposals by August 31st, with a final decision to be announced on October 31st. The most notable feature of the shortlist is the number of bids from existing A-League markets, with six bids from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Not only that, there are numerous bids competing over similar territory in the south west of Sydney, and the Wollongong/Illawarra region. Many commentators have expressed disappointment that the bid from Tasmania was left off the short list, with the “Apple Isle” now being shunned by both the AFL and FFA.
Canberra, South Melbourne, and Wollongong all previously had teams in the old National Soccer League prior to the A-League being introduced in 2005. The two successful bids will make their debut in the 2019/20 season.
The full shortlist is:
- South West Sydney
- United Macarthur (Sydney)
- Southern Expansion (St George, Sutherland, Illawarra)
- Team 11 (Melbourne)
- South Melbourne
- Brisbane City
- Ipswich Pride
Rugby League International in Denver Hailed a Success
Just under 20,000 were in attendance to see England defeat New Zealand in a rugby league test match at Denver last week, making it the largest crowd to ever attend a rugby league or union game in the state of Colorado. The fixture was the brainchild of Australian promoter Jason Moore, the same man responsible for bringing the MLB Opening Series to Sydney in 2014. Moore is also behind the 2025 Rugby League World Cup which will be staged in the US and Canada. The sport of rugby league is like rugby union but has a few key differences, in same way American and Canadian football are similar yet different. In most countries around the world rugby union is the more popular code, however league is arguably bigger in Australia, and is the national sport in Papua New Guinea.
NRL Magic Round
While we’re talking rugby league, the National Rugby League have announced a “Magic Round” has been scheduled for Round 9 in the 2019 season. This will see all eight fixtures played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane over three days. The original announcement stated the league extravaganza would take place the weekend of May 17-19, however were forced into an embarrassing backflip after Rugby Australia pointed out the Queensland Reds were already locked in to play the New South Wales Waratahs in a Super Rugby match that weekend. The revised dates for the Magic Round are now May 10-12.
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