The team, consisting of Australia’s foremost Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketball talent, will be out to secure its third consecutive Trans-Tasman title.
Headlining the side are former National Basketball League players Deba George and Kerry Williams (Cairns Taipans), Tyson Demos (Gold Coast Blaze & Illawarra Hawks) and Cedar brothers, Christopher and Michael (Townsville Crocodiles).
Joining the experienced NBL contingent will be current and former State League standouts from around the country, including Aaron Bin Tahal, Curt Ahwang and Jacob Pilot (Cairns Marlins), Reece Craigie (Sydney Comets), Tidjane Diop (Mackay Meteors), Verle Williams Jnr. (Southwest Brisbane Pirates) and Zachariah Bourne (Gold Coast Rollers).
Rounding out the group are Far North Queensland young guns, Jakobe Hunter, Joel Matysek and Marshall Ware.
“On paper, this could quite possibly be the most talented line-up we’ve ever had going into a Trans-Tasman series,” Apunipima All Stars Head Coach Joel Khalu said.
“We’re all aware that talent doesn’t always translate into success though and we’ll be making sure that we’re doing all the things we need to preparation-wise, to put ourselves in a position to be successful.”
“After defending our 2015 title in New Zealand last year, the goal is to make sure we can reclaim the silverware, especially playing the 2017 series with home-court advantage in Australia.”
“That’s certainly not going to be easy. The New Zealand Maori side are always athletic, strong, well coached and play extremely hard. We’ll have to be one-hundred percent ready or we could quite easily find ourselves at the end of a three-game series whitewash.”
The 4th Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash consists of a three-game series that will be played over consecutive nights at host venue, Cairns Basketball.
In conjunction with the men, a women’s series between the two representative sides will also be played for the very first time.
Fourth annual Trans-Tasman basketball clash- Cairns 2017
Apunipima Australia Indigenous All-Stars vs. New Zealand Maori National team
Early Settler Stadium, Cairns
289 Aumuller St, Manunda
Game 1 - Tuesday, December 5
Game 2 - Wednesday, December 6
Game 3 - Thursday, December 7
Women at 6pm and Men at 8pm