Night 1 Game Previews

Basketball is back!

The Sal's NBL Showdown tips off on Tuesday June 23 at Trusts Arena to start a six week competition featuring 56 games of action across 28 nights.

Proudly presented by SkyCity, the League will be broadcast on Sky Sport five nights each week.

Each night you get 2 games for the price of 1.

Tickets start from just $5 (children) and $20 (adults) for two games each night.

Grab your tickets now - click HERE

Here's a look at the opening night of action.



When: 5:30pm / Tuesday June 23

Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport 3 

Tickets: Available from $5 (children) & $20 (adults) for two games - click HERE.

Airs Starters: Derone Raukawa, Marcel Jones, Mitch Dance, Shane Temara, Tai Wynyard.

Giants Starters: Dane Brooks, Tom Ingham, Josh Bloxham, Nic Trathen, Thane O'Leary.

Preview: The Steelformer Taranaki Mountainairs and Mike Pero Nelson Giants are the first two teams up to start this unique competition and get the Sal's NBL Showdown underway. The Airs will be looking to deliver a quick and feisty offence with high-scoring potency expected from Marcel Jones and Derone Raukawa, two players more than capable of going for 20-plus points each game. Shane Temara and Tai Wynyard form a strong pairing up front and will create a few headaches for the Giants, who aren't expected to unveil Mika Vukona until later in the opening week. Mike Karena is also carrying a minor injury and may not be seen until later in the opening week. Dane Brooks was an astute pick-up for the Giants and will be given the freedom to score, while Josh Bloxham will turn some heads if he is in good shape and hits the ground running. The ace for the Giants could be the local players who have built-up some NBL experience in recent years and will be relishing the chance at greater opportunities.

Talking Point: The match-up between former teammates Derone Raukawa and Dane Brooks will be an intriguing battle, especially if both bring their dashing style of play and get going at the offensive end.

Airs Weapon: Make no mistake, Marcel Jones won't be mucking about here, the scoring machine will want to set a benchmark right out of the gates. He has the potential to be a leading candidate for the SkyCity MVP.

Giants Weapon: Keep an eye on Josh Bloxham. The former Tall Black has had some time out of the game, but will no doubt show his class once he gets going. He could be a surprise packet.



When: 7:30pm / Tuesday June 23

Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport 3

Tickets: Available from $5 (children) & $20 (adults) for two games - click HERE.

Rams Starters: Taylor Britt, Sam Smith, Toby Gillooly, Alex Talma, Thomas Webley.

Huskies Starters: Izayah Le'afa, Taine Murray, Rashid Al Kaleem, Leon Henry, Tohi Smith-Milner.

Preview: It's the 'settled' Rams up against the 'just-put-together' Huskies. Everyone is expecting the Rams to jump out of the blocks given they have been training together for a months now, but will that be enough to get past the talented Huskies? The starting unit for the Huskies looks strong and they should have the edge here given the Rams have lost both Jack Salt and Joe Cook-Green to injury, though success may come down to the ongoing performance of each team's respective back-up units. Lots of good match-ups here, the Taylor Britt vs Izayah Le'afa a clash that should produce plenty of highlights. How Kevin Braswell positions his team will be of interest - will Leon Henry move over to the power forward position and if so, surely that will help the Huskies spread the floor given Henry's ability to drain the triple. A great way to start the competition, not too much will separate these two. 

Talking Point: Young Thomas Webley could get a huge opportunity with Jack Salt sidelined and he'll get a tough initiation with the likes of Leon Henry and Tohi Smith-Milner waiting for him. The strength and experience of Alex Talma will no doubt help Webley settle some early nerves.

Rams Weapon: Taylor Britt looks set for a huge six weeks. Following a championship with the Perth Wildcats in the ANBL, Britt has returned home and is definitely a player of the rise. Keep a close eye on him.

Huskies Weapon: There has been widespread talk about what Izayah Le'afa will bring to this competition and with Coach Braswell keen to give him the keys to the team we are set for a treat. Look for Le'afa to hit the ground running and show us all what's in store for the 2020 Showdown.



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