North West Thunder open up about their community focus now they are settled in the NBL1

Marketing manager Michael Rowlands has embarked on the second stage of “rebranding” now the club is settled in the NBL1, which sees it have more of a community focus. Stage one saw the game-night experience reviltalised last year.


An initial survey of stakeholders had indicated that that there was desire for more than just a game of basketball with people saying they “weren’t entertained enough”.

“So we knew we had to give people a variety of experiences,” Rowlands said.

“We worked really hard last year to improve the game night experience and we had the Burnie brass band involved, the KC dance studio involved and we had outstanding national anthem singers and entertainers.

“We also allowed our SDP BTas kids to go back into the room after Sam (coach Sam Armstrong) had given his address on the floor and get a real insight from the coaches to what semi-professional basketball looks like, which added to their experience.”

That involvement of the next generation was the first steps of really establishing that community connection, one which has extended to charity and support organisations, as the club adopted its “Run as One” tagline.

“We as a club feel we have a responsibility to help make the community a great place to live in,” Rowlands said,

“We know people face great challenges in their lives and in what I view as one of the best sporting organisations in the region we should be setting an example.

“We are getting across a lot of things that we feel positively impacts people on the North-West Coast like Ronald McDonald House in Hobart and we’ve also reached out or will be reaching out to City Mission and the Devonport Soup Kitchen.

“At the end of the day we can help by putting smiles on people’s faces and be there for them.

“We also been around for 34 or 35 years and I do think we have that responsibility. While we are based in Ulverstone, I want to make it known we are here for everyone from Deloraine to Smithton to Queenstown.”

Part of this focus will be the “Run As One Ball” on Saturday, June 8, at Devonport’s Providore Place, which will act as a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House.

Off-court things are also looking up with Oliver’s Bakery and Cafe locked in for three years as the naming rights sponsor for its home stadium at Ulverstone, with Rowlands full of praise for the Central Coast Council allowing them to make it happen and the commitment of owner Scott Postlewaite.

A naming rights sponsor for the team, replacing Tall Timbers, is also imminent.

The Thunder will be back on court at Oliver’s Bakery and Cafe Stadium on Saturday as part of a double-header with the Launceston Tornadoes against Dandenong Rangers.

Coaches will wear pink, and the players pink socks, as part of a league wide Pink Round to support the Breast Cancer Network Australia, with fans encouraged to wear pink and donate.

The Torns will hit the court at 6pm and the Thunder at 8pm.