Annabel Bowles

Tropic Now journalist

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NBL reveals first fixtures with eight Taipans home games


The NBL has finally announced the first set of 2021 fixtures, with the Taipans scheduled for a whole set of home games across January and February. 

The team will start the season with one game in Brisbane, before playing the next eight games at the Cairns Pop-Up Arena. 

The 43rd consecutive season was due to begin in early October but has been delayed twice due to COVID-19. 

The NBL has indicated it’s still considering a hub for a portion of the season, with the regular season expected to finish in May ahead of the finals.



Taipans Head Coach Mike Kelly said the team is thrilled to finally have a confirmed season date to work to after months of training.

“Our team’s itching to get on court – it's been an extremely long off-season and it’s been frustrating for a group that is so competitive, energetic and passionate about playing,” he said. 

“We look forward to starting our season against our Queensland rivals and then having a great run of home games at our temporary stadium – which we know the Orange Army will enjoy.

 

The announcement comes less than two weeks after Scott Machado resigned a two-year contract with the Taipans.

Machado finished his stellar 2019-20 campaign with an average of 16.6 points, 7.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds across his 31 games, which saw United States recruit crowned Taipans MVP. 

“Scott was big for us on every level last year … it’s really special to have him back,” Kelly said. 

“He’s so important to our club, both in his basketball abilities and his leadership abilities, but also in his personality and how he deals with everybody in the club.

“I think Scott has fallen in love with Cairns, the city and the people. I think from his point of view, he’s enjoyed his time and sees the possibility of what this team can be.”

Machado’s resigning completed the Taipans roster alongside Cam Oliver, Mojave King, Kouat Noi, Majok Deng, Nate Jawai, Mirko Djeric, Fabijan Krslovic, Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Ngatai and George Blagojevic.

Tip-off times are yet to be confirmed. All games will be broadcast live on SBS and ESPN.