North-West Thunder not that keen on being part of Basketball Tasmania’s state league

Despite formal invitations not yet being issued, North-West Thunder chairman Tony Barker on Monday said from his club’s point of view it “didn’t make sense” to be part of the competition, which is normally reserved for association clubs to chase state glory.

“What we have been trying to do in this down time is to figure our way through what this new [BTAS] structure will be like, which is happening throughout the state, but that is where our efforts have been,” Barker said.

“It just doesn’t make sense to us as the players that play with Thunder would already be committed to their domestic [NWBU] clubs, and that is where it needs to run from.”

The idea of an expanded competition, which would allow for the Thunder, Launceston Tornadoes and Hobart Chargers to get some court time after the NBL1 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was first floated by Basketball Tasmania chief executive Chris McCoy in May.

With junior basketball now locked in, McCoy confirmed that the focus this week would turn to the senior state league competition, with more information to be released to clubs this week.

Further engagement would be needed to lock in the format for this year.

“From a state league point of view we are getting good interest as far as clubs saying they want to play, which has been great, as all the Southern clubs are all on board and Launceston also usually at least has a couple of teams and on the Coast we are hoping a lot of clubs will join,” he said

“We are really hopeful it will be strong, and we will just see how they want to frame up the competition and maybe add an extra weekend or two or adjust it to home and away and keep the format [of gala weekends in each region] that has worked well the last couple of years.”

The state league has a start date of October 10 and 11.

Meanwhile, Barker described last week’s announcement that a Tasmanian team would be entering the NBL in 2021-22 as a positive day for the sport.

But he reiterated that the team would need to have a strong presence on the Coast to truly be a Tasmanian side.

“Right from when it was first floated there was always an element of “will it happen?’, but to actually have it locked in is definitely good news,” he said.

“Certainly Launceston is closer than Hobart [to the Coast when it comes to playing games], but to have a whole state buy-in from a club point of view, they would need to show their face in the North-West as well.”