One of basketball’s great rivalries will return to the court this October when New Zealand and Australia contest a dozen 3X3 internationals at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill, 14-16 October.
Australia will travel their men’s and women’s national sides to play six games each against the 3X3 Tall Ferns and 3X3 Tall Blacks. This will be the first time the two nations have clashed in a series of basketball’s fast, furious, and physical half-court 3X3 format.
The internationals will be an added as feature games to another event, the NBL’s party product – the Schick Cup. Possibly the first time national and international titles have been conjoined into one event and one venue.
Similar to 2020’s event, the Schick Cup will feature 20 NBL teams from across New Zealand, 10 in the men’s competition and 10 in the women’s, with two national titles up for grabs. The added internationals will be the headline games at the end of each session.
Tickets will provide access to both events. All up, fans will be treated to 84 games, with Sky Sport broadcasting more than 24 hours of live 3X3 action.
3X3 Tall Ferns head Coach Justine Reed says she’s thrilled Basketball New Zealand and Basketball Australia have worked together to make the internationals happen. It’s been a while coming for Reed who was named as Head Coach at the start of 2020.
“It’s been too long since we have been able to bring the 3X3 programme to the fore with COVID-19 derailing our international calendar.
“The 3X3 Tall Ferns have a proud history in 3X3 and we are very excited for October. We’ve already got our squad pencilled, which will be announced closer to the time,” says Reed.
The 3X3 Tall Ferns have had strong international success in recent years, particularly with a Gold Medal championship at the 3×3 Asia Cup in 2018 and winning a Bronze at an Olympic Qualifying event in May 2019. And let’s not forget the thrilling silver-medal result at U18 3X3 World Cup in 2019.
The 3X3 Tall Blacks will be an exciting prospect and it will be interesting to see what team Coach Piet Van Hasselt will announce.
“We have a great pool of talent that continues to deepen, particularly with the rising success of the Sal’s NBL. I’ve been following prospects for the black singlet closely and looking forward to give some guys are call to conform their section,” says Van Hasselt.
He added that it’s especially exciting to see the internationals incorporated with the Schick 3X3 Cup, which is known as the NZ NBL’s party product – fast, furious and physical.
“Both Coach Justine Reed and I were lucky enough to have young development teams at the Schick 3X3 Cup last year and it was such a thrilling event. To take on the Aussies in Invercargill, in that setting, with the Southland supporters – it’s going to be fantastic,” says Van Hasselt.
Australia’s 3X3 Head Coach David Biwar says they are extremely excited about the opportunity.
“Our eyes are firmly focused on the 3X3 success at the Commonwealth Games and these lead up events provide our teams the experience and exposure we need.
“The 3x3 game is evolving rapidly, with experienced teams getting the better of less experienced teams. Europe has so many events like this on offer which gives them the advantage globally - so when events like this pop up in our neighbourhood, of course we need to capitalize on it. It provides great competition, great exposure, and also allows our programme the opportunity to fine tune our teams and style of play.
“New Zealand is a sporting nation with great sporting teams, 3x3 in New Zealand is no different. We are ready to build another dimension to the rivalry as we go head to head in this series. The added plus – we both will be getting better as we prepare for the 2022 Commonwealth games in Birmingham,” says Biwar.
Tickets go on sale Tuesday 29th June and are sure to sell fast.