Nellakir note with great interest the development of a new premium competition in Victoria and Tasmania to replace the previous South East Basketball League which ceased operating earlier this year.
The new league will fall under the auspices of Basketball Victoria. Nellakir build and maintain premium Sprung Timber Sports Floors in a number of stadiums to be utilised for the upcoming men’s and women’s competitions. These include stadiums at Ballarat, Bendigo, Frankston, Nunawading, Waverly and of course the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna (Knox).
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Basketball Victoria announces new elite league to replace SEABL
The South East Australian Basketball League will end, but elite basketballers will have new competition to play in next winter, with Basketball Victoria to manage a new senior elite league.
BV announced the 18 teams who have earned men’s and women’s licences for a new competition which was created after Basketball Australia gave SEABL its last rites earlier this year.
Having a farewell SEABL season, since the competition has been running since 1981, was raised but ultimately the new league, which is yet to be named, was given a green light with BV and clubs working furiously over the past two months to finalise bids and award the licenses.
All SEABL’s Victorian sides have remained including Dandenong Rangers, Kilsyth Cobras and Nunawading Spectres, while Albury-Wodonga Bandits and Tasmanian clubs Hobart Chargers, North-West Tasmania Thunder men and Launceston Tornadoes women also keep their places.
Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence teams will also remain but Basketball Victoria chief Nick Honey said they would likely play all their games in Victoria rather than in their base at the AIS in Canberra.
The big winners will be Knox Raiders, Eltham Wildcats, Ringwood Hawks and Waverley Falcons who move up from the Big V Championship into the new competition, several other Big V sides were knocked back but can apply again in future.
But SEABL powerhouse Mt Gambier Pioneers men and ACT sides Canberra Gunners and Canberra Capitals Academy were left out, as were Sydney University Sparks women.
The Canberra sides are tipped to join the Waratah League in New South Wales while the Pioneers’ future is uncertain. The Sparks were a development side for WNBL club Sydney University Flames.
There won’t be promotion or relegation but BV has reserved the right to add new clubs or send underperforming clubs down if needed.
Honey said BV wanted to have a year to plan for a new league in 2020 but had to step up to the plate despite already running the 145-team Big V competition.
The new league still has to produce a fixture, find a name and finalise the number of games, one plan could see it run from late March until late August with at least 22 regular season games but that is not locked in.
Honey also hopes clubs will look to sign NBL and WNBL players but knows there will be imports too.
“Necessity led this more than anything,” Honey said. “We have some high-performing, historically important associations that we have to look after and while we love all our children from our division two clubs to our biggest clubs, we had to somewhere suitable for them to do what they do best and that’s produce outstanding basketballers.”
Honey stressed the new league was managed by BV but not the state league, that title remains with the Big V Championship.
The new league will carry over the history from the SEABL in terms of championships, games and other statistical achievements with BV and BA to formalise more ways they can make sure that history is not lost.
“If you played 200 SEABL games and play next season, that will be game 201,” Honey said.
At club level there were celebrations and relief as they can now plan for their future.
Kilsyth chief executive Will van Poppel praised the new competition.
“It will have a substantial impact on our bottom line with less airfares, accommodation and travel costs – we can use those funds for more development work,” van Poppel said.
“Knox is an old rival of ours. Ringwood is a little newer but we have a rivalry at junior level so this will showcase local basketball and help us bring more spectators into our stadium.”
Eltham chief executive Greg Jeffers said his club wanted to join SEABL but couldn’t due to high costs.
“It’s a huge reward,” Jeffers said. “We spent over $1.2 million to upgrade our stadium in 2018 and get our venue right, we still have a lot of work to go.
“It’s great to get our rivalry games with Diamond Valley back, they have been missed. We can’t wait to bring the likes of Bendigo, Hobart and Melbourne Tigers to play in front of packed houses here next year.”
Clubs for 2019 Senior Elite League (both men’s and women’s): Albury-Wodonga, Ballarat, Bendigo, BA Centre of Excellence, Dandenong, Diamond Valley, Eltham, Frankston, Geelong, Hobart, Kilsyth, Knox, Melbourne Tigers, North West Thunder /Launceston (co-licensees), Nunawading, Ringwood, Sandringham, Waverley.