Last Sunday, the Australian Goannas wrapped up the weekend with another huge win against New Zealand Black Thunder at their second test of the Trans-Tasman Deaf Basketball game in Lower Hutt, Wellington (NZ). The score was 137 to 36, the difference in points being 101.

Over 90 people, including visitors from other organisations, attended the event at the Walter Nash Centre to watch and support both national teams. The game was concluded with a presentation hosted by Paul Batten, President of DIBF Asia Pacific, with trophies and medals handed out by special guests and a couple of interviews conducted by DSNZ President Chris Sinclair.

Deaf Basketball New Zealand’s Life Member Peter Murray awarded the Keith Gordon trophy to the Captain of the Goannas team, Jordan Woolmer, who received it on behalf of the Australian team for winning the 2022 Trans-Tasman Deaf Basketball game. Two Players of the Day trophies went to Callan Brooks (Goannas) and Jarell Rogan-Rekena (Black Thunder), and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy for 2022 went to Goannas player Lachlan Jackson.

In recognition of their participation in the Trans-Tasman event, Barry Lewis, former Australian basketball player, handed out medals to the Goannas players and management. Then Bernie Clews, a former New Zealand basketball player, handed out the medals to the Black Thunder players and their management team.

Paul Batten awarded the referees with medals expressing his gratitude for their involvement. He also thanked Basketball New Zealand for the coordination of hosting the venues and officials, including the support of Basketball Manawatu and Capital Basketball.

No doubt the new dynamic shift in both teams had an impact on the outcome of the Trans-Tasman game this weekend. Goannas Coach Reid understands that the New Zealand team are very young. “This was our team ten years ago. So, it can be built up pretty quickly, but you got to start somewhere, it’s pretty awesome to see,” said Reid.

Having come from a long way, Coach Reid said that regardless of their win, the Goannas still have room for improvement and the team reviewed their Saturday’s performance. A lot of the focus were on their defense. The Goannas will return to camp in early December to train more, before taking a Christmas break. They will then resume training in early February, to get ready for the basketball events in Greece and Europe.

Paul Batten spent six years working with the Australian team and shares his experience from 2007. “Our Australian players were very young like the New Zealand team today. That time they didn’t sign, they were fully oral. Now you can see the boys are signing away. For Black Thunder, this is history repeating itself,” Paul Batten said in the interview. However, Paul returned home to support Deaf Basketball New Zealand. “Naturally that is because I’m born and bred here. I have a passion in Deaf Basketball and have been involved for 45 years even on an international level. I’m aiming for 50 years!”

“When I saw the 50-year-old trophy at the Palmerston North Deaf Club, I thought, “why not ask Deaf Basketball NZ and Deaf Basketball Australia about having a Trans-Tasman game?” Both organisations agreed and came together. It’s been a positive experience and I’m so happy with the outcome. I want to give special thanks to both Deaf Sports New Zealand and Deaf Sports Australia for working together and I am so pleased to see both organisations here to witness this event take place,” Paul said.

Media contact:
Lauren Townsend