Queensland’s latest COVID-19 scare has led to the NBL again changing the schedule for the opening round of the season.
Having last week pushed the start date of the season back five days and reverted to a rolling and flexible schedule, the NBL have made further changes due to the current Queensland lockdown.
While the season will still start this Friday, the first game of the new campaign will be now be played at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre between the Adelaide 36ers and Melbourne United.
It’s part of a round one scheduled made up entirely of matches in South Australia and Queensland.
Two matches have been scheduled for Saturday, with the Cairns Taipans to host the Sydney Kings, and the Brisbane Bullets to host a yet-to-be confirmed opponent.
The 36ers are also in action at home next Sunday against South East Melbourne Phoenix, with the round to be completed in Cairns on Monday week with a Taipans-Hawks clash.
The NBL has announced changes to the schedule for the opening round of #NBL21
Games will now be played exclusively in South Australia and Queensland for the opening round of the season 📅
— The NBL (@NBL) January 9, 2021
“The latest changes to the schedule have been made necessary by the developments in Queensland where we currently have five teams – Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne United, Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats,” NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in Brisbane in the hope we can also host a game there in the opening round.
“We will continue to stay flexible and be guided by the relevant state health authorities but our intention is still for all teams to play 14 home games across the season when they are able to do so.”
Bullets CEO Peter McLennan understood the “need to be flexible and able to adapt to schedule changes such as these”.
“First and foremost, Brisbane as a city needs to stay safe and get through this together, giving us every opportunity to host our season opener at Nissan Arena next Saturday afternoon,” McLennan said.
Phoenix CEO Tommy Greer said: “We applaud the NBL on again moving quickly to ensure a start to the season.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcats – who had been due to open the season on Friday – will take no part in round one as they head into quarantine in Perth on their arrival home from Brisbane this weekend after having played pre-season matches against the Bullets.
NBL Round 1: Friday, January 15: Adelaide 36ers v Melbourne United, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Saturday, January 16: Brisbane Bullets v TBC, Nissan Arena; Cairns Taipans v Sydney Kings, Cairns Pop-Up Arena.
Sunday, January 17: Adelaide 36ers v South East Melbourne Phoenix, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Monday, January 18: Cairns Taipans v The Hawks, Cairns Pop-Up Arena.