Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball All Stars Player Kerry Williams (left) joins with Cairns Basketball General Manager Mike Scott (centre) and All Stars Head Coach Joel Khalu (right) to announce Cairns as this year’s host venue.
Cairns Basketball will play host to an international sporting event in early December when the 4th Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash makes its way to Early Settler Stadium in Manunda.
Supported by the Cairns Regional Council Event Grants Program, the 4th Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash is both a cultural showcase and three-game series played between the Apunipima Australian Indigenous Men’s Basketball All Stars and the New Zealand Maori Men’s National Team.
2017 will see teams face off for the fourth consecutive year, with Australian Indigenous taking home the silverware the last two times after New Zealand Maori won the inaugural encounter in Wellington in 2014.
In addition, for the first time ever a women’s series will also be played in conjunction to the men, with the Apunipima Australian Indigenous Women’s Basketball All Stars also battling the New Zealand Maori Women’s National Team in a three-game series. The female All Stars will be coached by National Basketball League Hall of Fame inductee and Australia’s first ever Torres Strait Islander Olympic athlete, Mr. Danny Morseu.
The three game-nights will take place at Cairns Basketball from December 5 to 7 and CBI General Manager Mike Scott said he was excited for the association to play host to the major hoops event.
“Cairns Basketball is thrilled to be hosting this series and we are looking forward to seeing many of our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s and women’s players in action for the All Stars.”
“It also gives our junior Indigenous players another avenue to aspire and with the high-level talent that will be on display, it’s a great attraction for the public to come and watch,” Scott added.
Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball All Stars Head Coach and Cairns native Joel Khalu said he was delighted to see the series being staged in his hometown.
“It's fantastic for the city’s sporting community and we are grateful to the Cairns Regional Council, Cairns Basketball and Apunipima Cape York Health Council for their amazing support.” Khalu said.
“The rivalry between the sides has grown intensely over the past three-years and the biggest winning margin for either team has never been more than ten-points, so games are always close and entertaining.”
“The style of play of both lineups is very dynamic and when you have local hoops standouts like Kerry Williams, Deba George and Curt Ahwang joining forces with the other premier Indigenous basketball players from around the country, it’s going to be a great spectacle.”
“When you also take into consideration that the New Zealand Maori National team have players who have represented their country at both the Olympics and FIBA World Championships, it’s certainly something basketball fans won’t want to miss.”
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said Cairns was an ideal location to host the Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash.
“Cairns and Far North Queensland have produced many great players, many of whom have gone on to represent Australia or play in international leagues,” Cr Manning said.
“In particular, our Indigenous communities embrace the sport of basketball, our local NBL team the Taipans work closely with the communities to help promote healthy lifestyles choices.”
“Each time top-level sport comes to Far North Queensland a new legion of fans are engaged and our local kids are inspired to strive for greatness, I am sure that this Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash will have the same outcome.”
Tickets for the event start at just $10 and can be purchased from the Cairns Basketball office starting on Monday, November 20.