WOMEN’S National Basketball League team the Melbourne Boomers will play pre-season matches in Sale over the next two years.
The Boomers will play matches in Sale, Warragul and Traralgon, as part of a new partnership with the state government.
The Bendigo Spirit will play the Boomers in this year’s Triple Crown series from September 13 to 16.
It marks the return of WNBL pre-season matches to Sale for the first time in more than a decade.
The deal will also include training sessions, junior clinics and coaching classes across the region, benefiting local students and players across the entire community.
The two-year partnership, part of the state government’s $85 million Latrobe Valley Sports and Community Initiative, was announced at state Sport Minister John Eren.
“This is a massive sporting coup for the Valley – these games are a great chance for locals to see the best female basketballers in their own backyard,” Mr Eren said.
“We’re bringing the big events to our regions because they create jobs, fill our hotels, attract new visitors and strengthen the economy.”
Boomers general manager Justin Nelson said Gippsland was a rich region for all sports, particularly basketball.
“We can’t wait to help promote participation across the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland community via our player, coach and management visits over the next two years,” he said.
“Chelsea D’Angelo is a world-class junior from Traralgon and has signed with us for the next four years, our captain Jenna O’Hea is one of Australia’s very best players and also comes from Traralgon, while Jaz Shelley is from Moe and has also just joined us.
“We’re aware of many budding young players developing their skills across dozens of basketball clubs throughout the Latrobe Valley.
“We plan on adding at least three rising Gippsland-based players to our Boomers team for the Triple Crown event and give them a taste of life with a WNBL club.”
Eastern Victoria MLC Harriet Shing was thrilled to add the Boomers to the region’s growing events calendar.
“Whether you’re an aspiring basketballer or small business owner, events like these are a big win for the local community,” she said.