The 2017/18 National Basketball League Season has been released and the Illawarra Hawks are set to make a big impression, with an emphasis on ensuring the games are readily accessible to the fans as the League embarks on its 40th season.
In response to feedback from the fans, the League has ensured the majority of games are played between Thursday to Sunday with NBL Chief Executive Jeremy Loeliger placing a heavy focus on weekend fixtures in 2017-18. “We’ve listened to the fans who’ve told us they want to come and watch games on weekends. We think NBL Game Time is a great way of showcasing our biggest clubs in front of big crowds each week,” he said. We saw an 11 per cent growth in attendances last season and with more games across weekends we are confident crowds and TV ratings will only continue to grow next season.”
The Hawks will play all 14 of their home games between Thursday – Sunday, with 7 family friendly Sunday fixtures, 4 Saturday games, 2 Thursday evening games and 1 Friday night fixture.
As in most years venue availability across the league plays a pivotal role in planning the schedule and this has resulted in teams having blocks of home or away games throughout the draw. For Hawks home fans, the first time they will get to watch the team live at the WIN Entertainment Centre is in Round 3 against the Brisbane Bullets on Sunday the 22nd of October with the team being on the road for 9 games out of their first 12.
“Although not the way we would have planned it, we have a long home stretch beginning in December. If we can win a few on the road early on, it will help set our season up and allow us to have a strong home stand as we make a run to the Playoffs.” said Hawks General Manager Kim Welch
“It will be key for our group to have the amazing crowd support at the WIN Entertainment Centre during the regular season, and help us lift as we look to have another successful season”
Some key highlights for the Hawks from the schedule:
- Our first match up against Grand Final Adversaries Perth is in Perth in Round 2
- Oscar Forman to potentially play his 500th game against Perth Wildcats on the 23rd of December at WIN Entertainment Centre
- The hugely popular New Year’s Eve Game is back on against the Brisbane Bullets
- A special heritage month in January to mark the 40th anniversary season of the NBL
- Our first home clash against traditional rivals the Sydney Kings is in Round 4 on October 29th
“This promises to be one of the biggest and most exciting seasons we’ve seen in the NBL,” Loeliger said. “Last year all but one team was in contention for the play-offs up until the end of the season and I’m sure fans are in for another highly competitive and entertaining season.
Heritage month will give us an opportunity to celebrate one of Australia’s oldest national club competitions with clubs wearing heritage jerseys as part of our 40th anniversary season. This is great opportunity to engage fans old and new.
Australian basketball has never been better. We have strong national teams, flourishing participation in the sport, a number of Australians playing in the NBA and a strong national competition that is among the best in the world. I’m sure fans can’t wait for the season to start.”
There will be two Bye rounds in November and February so players can be available for FIBA World Cup qualifying matches.
Check out our full schedule here
You can find the full NBL Schedule here
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