Pride on the line in Indigenous basketball
Serious basketball fans should definitely make time to be at Porirua’s Te Rauparaha Arena on Saturday night for a huge trans-Tasman clash.
The inaugural New Zealand Maori v Australian Indigenous basketball series starts on Friday with a match in Otaki. The second game is at the Arena at 7.30pm on Saturday.
New Zealand Maori coach Jeff Green said that with at least four Australian National Basketball League players in the opposition, what started as a friendly match when organised last year had got much more serious.
‘‘ The Australians
are coming with a team to compete and you’ll see a game of two contrasting styles.
‘‘ They will look to take advantage of their bulk and slow the game down, but we’ll speed it up as much as possible,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m looking forward to it – it will be a big game.’’
Green said having the experience of Lindsay Tait and Porirua locals Brook Ruscoe and Jordan Ngatai would be a boon for his team, especially in front of a home crowd.
He said the concept of an annual series between the countries’ two indigenous teams was fantastic and he hoped it would become a regular fixture.
Willie Taurima, Porirua City Council’s manager of recreation, said the response from Basketball Australia to the indigenous series was very positive. The quality of players on show and the cheap ticket prices should ensure a good spectator turnout.
‘‘ The rivalry talk has already started and our guys will not want to lose,’’ he said.
Next year, the series will be extended to include a women’s match as well, Taurima said.
It is only door sales in Otaki, but tickets for the Porirua game can be bought either through ticketdirect. co.nz or at the door.
Adults cost $5, children a gold coin, or $ 10 for two adults and three children.