A WOMEN’S National Basketball League pre-season match will now be played in Maffra, having initially been announced for Sale.
The Melbourne Boomers will play the Bendigo Spirit at the Cameron Sporting Complex on Friday, September 14, from 7pm as part of the Triple Crown tournament. Matches will also be played in Traralgon on September 13 and Warragul on September 16.
Sale was announced as the venue in May, but upgrades at Gippsland Regional Sports Complex mean the it was unavailable for the WNBL match.
The synthetic indoor courts at GRSC are due to be replaced with a sprung timber floor later this year. The new flooring will be rated to a minimum level two certification under international basketball federation standards.
The Maffra facility already has a timber floor.
Ahead of the announcement, Boomers players Monique Conti and Chelsea D’Angelo led a clinic for local children at Maffra.
As well as the three matches, the September tour of Gippsland will include community activities such as school visits, junior clinics, Aussie hoops sessions, open trainings, fan signings and photo opportunities across Baw Baw and Wellington shires and Latrobe City.
It is the beginning of a three-year partnership with the Boomers forged as part of the state government’s $85 million sports and community package for the region.
Boomers general manager Justin Nelson said Gippsland was a rich region for all sports, in particular basketball.
“We can’t wait to help promote participation across the community via our player, coach and management visits over the next three years,” he said.
“Chelsea D’Angelo is a world-class junior from Traralgon and has just signed with us for the next four years, Jenna O’Hea is one of Australia’s very best players and also comes from Traralgon, Jaz Shelley is from Moe and has just joined us while many budding young players continue to develop their skills across dozens of basketball clubs throughout the Latrobe Valley.
“We also 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.”
Wellington Shire mayor Carolyn Crossley said hosting a part of the Triple Crown was a good opportunity for Wellington residents to see top level women’s basketball locally.
“Basketball is a very popular sport in Wellington for men, women and children and having the opportunity to see female sport at an elite level will be inspiring for our communities,” she said.