The Apunipima All Stars will head across the ditch this September to face the New Zealand Maori Men’s National Team in 3-games hosted across North Island city’s Hamilton and Tauranga.
The national representative lineup featuring Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketball talent, will be out to secure its fourth consecutive Trans-Tasman title.
Headlining the squad are former National Basketball League players Chris Patton (Melbourne United/Cairns Taipans), Chris Cedar (Townsville Crocodiles) and Deba George (Cairns Taipans).
Joining the NBL trifecta will be State League standouts from across the country including Jakobe Hunter, Joel Matysek & Marshall Ware (Cairns Marlins), Tidjane Diop (Gold Coast Rollers) and William Hickey (Sydney Comets).
Victorian duo Dion Patten and Lachlan Edwards have earned their first call-up to the national team, along with 200cm Western Australian rookie Johny Narkle. 16-year old Torres Strait Island phenom and NBA Global Academy scholarship athlete Tamuri Wigness will also compete in this year’s side.
“Our staff are certainly excited about the blend of experience and youth we have in this year’s group,” Apunipima All Stars Head Coach Joel Khalu said.
“We’ve got some veteran guys who have performed well on New Zealand courts during previous tours and combining their skill-sets with the talent of our up-and-coming younger players, gives us a solid foundation to build our Trans-Tasman title defence on.”
“Winning a fourth straight campaign is the goal, but definitely won’t be an easy feat,” Khalu added.
“The New Zealand Maori side are big, athletic and play an extremely physical brand of hoops. We’ll need to match their level of toughness, particularly in the paint, if we want to be competitive.”
The 3-games making up the series will be played over consecutive nights, with game one tipping-off in Hamilton on Thursday, September 27.
5th ANNUAL TRANS-TASMAN BASKETBALL SERIES - NEW ZEALAND
Game #1 - Thursday, September 27 - Hamilton
Game #2 - Friday, September 28 - Tauranga
Game #3 - Saturday, September 29 - Tauranga
2018 APUNIPIMA AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS BASKETBALL MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM (ALL STARS)
Chris Cedar – Mackay, QLD
Chris Patton – Melbourne, VIC
Deba George – Albury, NSW
Dion Patten – Melbourne, VIC
JaKobe Hunter – Cairns, QLD
Joel Matysek – Cairns, QLD
Johny Narkle – Geraldton, WA
Lachlan Edwards – Geelong, VIC
Marshall Ware – Cairns, QLD
Tamuri Wigness – Canberra, ACT
Tidjane Diop – Gold Coast, QLD
William Hickey – Sydney, NSW
Head Coach: Joel Khalu
Assistant Coach: Jason Borg
Assistant Coach: Ricky Baldwin
Team Manager: Brent Khalu
Team Physio: Eddie Atkin