NBL reschedule opening rounds due to border closures

The NBL have made the decision to re-shuffle the fixtures for the opening six rounds of the competition, with the Tasmania JackJumpers facing a new opening round opponent for the 2021/22 season.

In line with policies regarding border closures and openings, the NBL have chosen to alter the opening fixtures in order to guarantee fan attendance.

Originally facing the Adelaide 36ers in their first match of the NBL, the JackJumpers will now face the Brisbane Bullets, with the 36ers rescheduled to fly to Perth and play the Wildcats at RAC Arena.

NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said the competition will always keep fans front of mind when making fixture decisions.

"We will always prioritise having as many fans in home venues as possible as per our policies and processes," he said.

"Like every sporting organisation around the country, we were acutely aware our schedule would likely change as Australia and New Zealand started to open up and consider vaccination rates and health advice.

"We have the ability to swap and change when necessary but will always maintain the integrity of the schedule and we will always put fans first."

The Commissioner said the league will remain flexible when it comes to schedule restructures and will ensure every team retains 14 home games.

"We will maintain a flexible approach to the schedule to ensure any potential further changes are made with these two objectives at the forefront.

"We will ensure each team still plays 14 home games and we will endeavour to give fans as much notice as possible when further changes are made after Round 6."

Due to the restructure, the Wildcats will now play five home games in the first three weeks of the season, before they take their game on the road for a block of away games while the West Australian border remains closed to certain states.

"This allows Wildcats' fans to cheer on their team at RAC Arena early in the season and maintains a fair schedule for the club," Loeliger said.

The South East Melbourne Phoenix will now host the New Zealand Breakers in Round 1 on Saturday December 4 while a Sunday triple-header on December 5 pits Adelaide against the Illawarra Hawks, the Sydney Kings against Melbourne United and Perth against the Cairns Taipans.