‘Various scenarios’ in play for 2021, says St.LukesHealth NW Thunder chairman

But the one thing he remains confident about is the fact the competition will be back next year, but how it looks and when it might get underway is still very much up in the air.

“While there are those scenarios, the expectation is the league will still run,” he said.

“There are a couple of options for a start time, so that is probably the biggest thing that is up in the air at the moment.”

He also said he did not believe a late start to the NBL, which has been reported as getting underway as late as late January, wouldn’t impact the Thunder’s competition, save for those clubs that have NBL talent on their playing roster.

“There will probably be some overlap with the NBL, but we need to be finished by September.

“So if we are late starting then it will be a shorter competition.”

The Thunder and their NBL1 opponents failed to get out on the court in 2020 after the competition was shut down due to coronavirus, with the impact the virus is still having in Victoria specifically another hurdle.

Barker was speaking after his club as well as the state’s other two NBL1 clubs, the Launceston Tornadoes and Hobart Chargers, formed an official strategic alliance to ensure the three clubs, and regions, can work together off the court for the good of the game.

With all the present “unknowns” in the immediate future and as the sport prepares to be part of the national spotlight ahead of the state’s time in the NBL starting again in 2021-22, Barker said it made sense to all be on the same page.

“We just wanted to formalise a more regular catch up between the three NBL1 clubs in the state, as previously it was just ‘whenever’ we could, but now we will meet monthly for a while,” Barker said.

“It is important for us and the things we can gain, but also important to be seen that we are working together and having a real strong presence at that level, particularly as NBL moves in and around the state.

“Just at the moment there is still the uncertainty due to COVID and the borders being closed so it is good to be able to bounce ideas off each other and keep in touch so we can be informed about what each other is up to, as well as seeing to be seen as a united front.

“It will obviously be easier for us to do that if we have a reasonably close working relationship.”

Barker said the first meeting involved talking about “a lot of things”, including the BTAS Charter.

The three clubs, Barker said, will be hoping to meet with Team Tasmania chief executive Simon Brookhouse “in the coming weeks”.