WBA Launches New Era of Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair Basketball Australia to drive growth of the National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL) and the Women's National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL).

Wheelchair Basketball Australia (WBA) is excited to today announce its company launch with the purpose to drive the prosperity of Australia’s premier wheelchair basketball competitions, the National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL) and the Women's National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL).

WBA, with the endorsement of Basketball Australia, will administer the Men’s and Women’s national leagues including scheduling, competition rules, travel arrangements and commercial opportunities.

The NWBL and WNWBL have proud histories with the Men’s league established in 1988 and the Women’s in 2000. However, after a difficult period through COVID that saw seasons unable to go ahead, the need for the establishment of WBA was realised.

The national leagues have been an integral part of the para-sports landscape and a vital piece of the pathway for our elite players.

2024 is a Paralympic year and with a home Games in Brisbane 2032 only six years away, restoring the national leagues is crucial to the future success of our Rollers and Gliders. The history, names and continuity of the two leagues will remain under the guidance of WBA.

The new entity will be chaired by two-time Paralympian Nick Taylor who has recently served as the chair of Wheelchair Sport NSW/ACT.

“Having the national leagues as a part of the pathway in Australia is critical for a couple of reasons. Firstly, having high-level wheelchair basketball on show for the younger generation to see and aspire to enables us to attract talent to the game, said Taylor.

“Adaptive sport has become a competitive landscape and we're losing players to other sports because wheelchair basketball hasn't been on show over the past few years.

“Secondly, having elite level games domestically for both our up and coming athletes as well as our representative players to continue developing will ultimately strengthen our national programs.”

Joining Taylor on the board is Australian Basketball Hall of Famer Lorraine Landon (OAM) and four-time Paralympian Koen Jansens.

Landon’s experience as a basketball administrator in both able-bodied basketball and wheelchair basketball is without peer while Jansens brings a wealth of experience having played professionally in Europe.

Additional directors will be appointed as the company progresses. WBA will also comprise a Competition Committee made up of representatives from every team participating in the national leagues.

Whilst WBA will deliver the national leagues, Basketball Australia remains the governing body for wheelchair basketball in Australia and the custodian of the wider wheelchair basketball pathway.

“Wheelchair Basketball Australia has the endorsement of Basketball Australia. We are fully committed to the success of the wheelchair basketball leagues. We wish all the participants the very best for the upcoming 2024 season,” says Basketball Australia CEO Matt Scriven.

With this, WBA is pleased to announce that NWBL 2024 will include seven teams representing six states and territories, while the WNWBL will have four teams.

The seven Men’s teams include defending NWBL Champions the Wollongong Roller Hawks, 2022 runners-up Perth Wheelcats, Darwin Salties, Queensland-based Southern District Spartans as well as the return of Adelaide Thunder, the Red Dust Heelers who will be based in Victoria and newcomers, the Manly Wheel Eagles.

In the Women’s league, the four teams will include defending WNWBL Champions the Perth Wheelcats, Sydney Metro Blues, Sydney Uni Flames and Queensland Comets.

“It's fantastic to have six different states and territories represented in our national league in 2024,” says Taylor.

“To the best of my knowledge, we've never had that breadth of representation in the past and it's exciting because it makes for a truly national competition and showcases the game throughout the country. I believe there's still scope for growth in the league too, so we could see even more clubs participating in the near future.”

The NWBL season will begin on 15 June and the WNWBL the following week, culminating in a Final Series hosted by the Roller Hawks at Shellharbour City Stadium, NSW on 10-11 August.

Draw details and team lists to follow.

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