Battles, showdowns, clashes, stoushes, arm wrestles, throwdowns - call them what you want! When it comes to the Sal's NBL we love a good match-up and season 2021 promises to dish up more than a few.
Here's the five match-ups we can't wait to see.
1. THE SOUTHERN STOUSH
Not since 2014 have we been entertained by a Southern Stoush, but it's back and it promises to deliver big crowds, plenty of passion and lots of highlights. The Go Media Otago Nuggets are back in full swing and one of their fiercest rivalries in the Sal's NBL is a deep south clash with the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks. It's been a long time since we've seen these two lock horns, but the 'Stoush' is on
Saturday June 5 | 7:30pm | Sharks @ Nuggets
Friday July 9 | 7:30pm | Nuggets @ Sharks
2. THE BATTLE OF THE NORTH
It's the newest rivalry in the Sal's NBL, but boy oh boy is it a good one. After two clashes at the 2020 Showdown, which were not only split one apiece, but also by the same 4-point margin, the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls and Sky Tower Auckland Huskies line-up for Battle 3 when they meet on Anzac Day (April 25) on the opening weekend of season 2021. And while it might be all smiles and handshakes on the outside, the rivalry already runs deep between these two and a first-up win to start the 2021 campaign will be celebrated loudly. Bulls vs Huskies ..... yep, it's serious!
Sunday April 25 | 7:30pm | Huskies @ Bulls
Saturday June 12 | 7:30pm | Bulls @ Huskies
3. THE TACTICAL THROWDOWN
It's destined to be the battle of two great basketball minds, and it just so happens to also involve two of the League's fiercest rivals. When Zico Coronel (Wellington Saints) and Rob Beveridge (Southland Sharks) come together this season we'll get to see the game going on behind the game! Regarded as two of the very best coaches in the Sal's NBL, both Coronel and Beveridge are known for getting the absolute best out of their players. We already know there is a big build-up heading into a Saints-Sharks clash, and in 2021 we will also get to see a 'Tactical Throwdown' between two elite coaches.
Friday May 7 | 7:30pm | Sharks @ Saints
Friday June 4 | 7:30pm | Saints @ Sharks
4. THE AMERICAN ARM WRESTLE
There is a lot to like about the American stars coming into the Sal's NBL this season and we are likely to see a heap of exciting match-ups between our foreign friends. However, let's zero in on one match-up in particular, and it involves another two teams with a long rivalry - the Wellington Saints and the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams. At the moment it looks like DeShon Taylor (Rams) and Kerwin Roach (Saints) will be the floor generals for their respective team, and that means we are set to see two of the League's most exciting imports square-up for an athletic battle. Taylor is a little more experienced with more pro-years under his belt, but don't write off Roach. We could be looking at two of the League's best players here, but we'll have to wait until they go head-to-head before we know who truly is 'King of the Castle'.
Friday April 30 | 7:30pm | Rams @ Saints
Saturday June 5 | 7:30pm | Saints @ Rams
5. THE CELEBRATION CLASH
By now everyone knows the Sal's NBL is celebrating its 40th year, but did you know the Mike Pero Nelson Giants have been a part of the furniture since day one and will also be celebrating their 40th birthday this year? That means, at some point, the Giants will hold one GIANT (pardon the pun) celebration and the opposition for that particular game will be invited to the party! And you can lock it in right now that the Trafalgar Centre will be filled to the brim with Giants fans set to bring passion, pride and party poppers. Who will that opponent be? No doubt the Giants will soon reveal the lucky recipients of a welcome like no other this season.
Giants vs ????