Yesterday, the Goannas of Deaf Basketball Australia, won 124 – 38 against NZ Deaf Basketball team Black Thunder at the first of two Trans-Tasman Deaf Basketball test games in Palmerston North. They will be playing their second test game today in Lower Hutt (NZ) at 4.30pm NZ local time.
Black Thunder Assistant Coach Ross Fremantle affirms that the New Zealand team has room for improvement, such as blocking and man-to-man marking. There were also a considerable number of young players, the average age being 18 across the team. “It’s been a good opportunistic experience for them to develop as a team, having trained within the last two years and they will succeed. This game was a good wake-up call for them, having to play against a very experienced team from Australia. Obviously Goannas have played together as a team for many years.”
The Australian Goannas Coach Brent Reid affirmed that his team also have some areas they need to improve to be in their best shape, not only for the second test but for the World Championship in Greece. “It’s super exciting! We haven’t competed since Turkey in 2017. The Asia Pacific Champs got closed due to the protest in Hong Kong and then for the Deaflympics, we weren’t allowed to leave the country, but hey, we’re excited!”
The 2023 DIBF Basketball World Championships will be held in Heraklion, Greece, from 13 – 24 June 2023. Both Australia and New Zealand are amongst the 25 nations going.
Paul Batten, President for DIBF Asia Pacific, was impressed to see how the Trans-Tasman game turned out. “It was amazing to see lots of deaf people turn up. There were even some hearing people who came to watch and even they were fascinated!” Paul Batten continues, “the timing couldn’t be any more perfect, it was a 50-year anniversary for Deaf Basketball since our very first Trans-Tasman game back in 1972!”
The event saw former players from Deaf Basketball Australia attending the event to watch the game. The Trans-Tasman Deaf Basketball Game is supported by both Deaf Sports New Zealand and Deaf Sports Australia, in which both Chris Sinclair (Deaf Sport NZ President) and General Manager Phil Harper (Deaf Sports Australia) attended. Paul Batten shares his gratitude to the sponsors for contributing to the success of the games in New Zealand.