NWBL takes on Darwin
The Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball League heads to Darwin, Northern Territory this weekend, when the Sydney Uni Wheelkings battle the Wollongong Roller Hawks this Saturday, April 28 (tip-off 7pm) and Sunday April 29 (tip-off 12 noon).
In addition to the World-class talent that will be taking to the floor, fans will be given the opportunity to see two local players competing for the Sydney Uni team, with Clarence (CJ) Grogan and Keegan Oh Chee both hailing from Darwin.
Grogan and Oh Chee have both just returned from Dubai, where they were members of the Emerging Rollers line-up that took fourth place at the Fazza International Tournament. Also on the Wheelkings team are Australian Gliders stars Kylie Gauci and Sarah Stewart.
They will have a battle on their hands however, as the Wollongong Roller Hawks are the current defending League Champions and are led by Australian Rollers players Brett Stibners and Grant Mizens, both of whom were members of the Gold Medal-winning Australian Rollers team from the Beijing Paralympics. They are coached by Brendan Dowler who was also a member of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic team.
The international flavor of the games doesn’t end there however, with star players Luke Pople, Nick Taylor and Shawn Russell together with Mizens and Stibners having all recently returned from Varese and Belgium where they took part in the Australian Rollers team who played Spain in Varese at the AIS Training Centre, and then participated in the Belgium tournament.
Darwin based Glider Melinda Hall will also suit up with the Roller Hawks, in what should be a hard-fought and physical battle.
Darwin has proven a great breeding ground for Wheelchair basketball talent, and that trend continues with the likes of Tom O’Neill-Thorne, the 15 year old player on the rise, who represented Australia in Dubai as part of the Emerging Rollers team.
As part of the weekend’s activities will also be a community engagement program including school visits and community opportunities in Darwin on Friday 27 April. Basketball Australia would like to thank the Northern Territory Government through the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Sport for supporting the trip, including a $25,000 grant to bring the two games of the National Wheelchair Basketball League to Darwin.
WHO: National Wheelchair Basketball League
WHAT: Sydney Uni Wheelkings versus the Wollongong Roller Hawks
WHEN: Saturday, April 28 – tip-off 7pm; and Sunday April 29 – tip-off 12 noon.
WHERE: Marrara Indoor Stadium