Tom Abercrombie and Corey Webster discuss the Breakers returning to NZ for their 7 home game next month. Video / Sky Sport Breakers
The Breakers are poised for their long awaited return with seven consecutive matches to be held in New Zealand to round out their Australian NBL season.
Scheduling around the final six weeks of the 2020-21 season has been released, with the Breakers first gracing New Zealand’s hardwood floors on May 20 against the Sydney Kings.
This will mark the first time the Kiwi franchise in transtasman competition has played in their real home since February 2020.
Breakers owner Matt Walsh said all the staff and performers were excited to be back home.
“Our priority is to get our players and staff home to their families as quickly as possible. We would not have had a very challenging season without the support of our family and friends and our amazing Breaker Nation,” he said.
“We are very grateful to be able to finish our season playing seven home games in front of the best fans in the world.”
It’s been 426 days and counting since the franchise last played a home game, a pre-Covid showdown with South East Melbourne Phoenix in Christchurch on February 14 last year. You have to go back to 31 January 2020 for the last time the Breakers played in Auckland.
The Breakers have been based in Australia since just before Christmas, and captain Tom Abercrombie welcomes news that the team is returning home.
“The prospect of coming back to New Zealand, having some home games is definitely very exciting,” he said.
Abercrombie, who has made 350 appearances for the Breakers and is part of all four championship-winning teams, knows better than anyone the importance of home-court excellence at NBL.
“There are a lot of things that come with the home advantage, part of that is the encouragement that your fans can give. Sometimes after a few defeats away from home, you’re really looking forward to a replay coming home, playing in front of your fans, and reset it, relive your momentum, “he said.
“For us to be able to go home and hopefully reset and restart ourselves and go a little running is fun.”
Abercrombie has not seen his wife or three children since mid-January, while carer Corey Webster missed his children’s birthdays and son’s first day at school while in Australia.
“It’s hard to be far away, they are growing so fast, they are at an age where they are growing and changing every week,” says Webster.
The 32-year-old hopes the narrow defeats the team continues to suffer to turn into victories when the Breakers play at home.
“A crowd at home is important in sports; you energize the crowd, you play in front of your friends, family and loyal fans, and it all adds to your atmosphere and feelings,” says Webster.
The Breakers play 10 more games in Australia, starting with the Brisbane Bullets in Tasmania tomorrow, before heading home.
It is hoped the team will fly back to New Zealand next month where they will play seven games in a row without having to fly back to Australia to play regular season matches again.
“It’s kind of cruel, the bubble will open up, but we can’t come back right away, but we’ve learned very quickly this season to deal with anything that gets in our way and makes no excuses,” said Abercrombie.
“Again it’s one of those things, [but] when I’m on that plane and heading home, that’s when I get really excited and start imagining cuddles with kids. “