The State Basketball League season is just three months away and with the release of the 2018 playing schedule, it’s our chance to have a look at how the season looks for your Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants.
After the annual SBL Blitz pre-season tournament in Perth on March 3rd/4th, the Giants’ season officially gets underway with a Perth road double on March 17th/18th against the Rockingham Flames and Stirling Senators.
Their home opener comes a week later in Round 2, as they take on the Cockburn Cougars in what will also be the opening round of both the SBL Division 1 Men’s and SBL Division 1 Women’s competition.
After a Round 3 bye at Easter, they play six of their next ten games at home before their WA Day Long Weekend Away/Home double header fixture against their arch rival Geraldton Buccaneers.
This season will see the opening game take place up in Geraldton on June 2nd before both teams head to Kalgoorlie for the return leg on Sunday June 3rd.
That weekend also sees the playing of the annual SBL All-Star game in Perth on Monday the 4th of June at the Bendat Basketball Centre.
After the All-Star weekend, the Giants finish off the season with five of their next eleven games at home, including the final regular season game on July 28th against the Lakeside Lightning.
The SBL will be once again theming some rounds throughout the season with the Giants hosting games on a couple of those.
ANZAC Round: Round 6 – Away at Perth Redbacks & Kalamunda Eastern Suns
Women’s Round: Round 9 – Home versus Mandurah Magic
Rivalry Round: Round 12 – Away/Home Double Header versus Geraldton
Heritage Round: Round 16 – Away at South West Slammers & Mandurah Magic
The “Rivalry Round” fixture against the Buccaneers will have a new chapter added to it this season with new Giants and former Geraldton head coach Scott Rubery taking on his old club up in Geraldton.
All up, the Giants play a twenty six game season (thirteen at home, thirteen on the road) with a good balance of home games to road trips, with just one “three game” home stand between two of their seven road trips.
“We’re extremely happy with our schedule for 2018” Giants chairman Jamie Crombie said “There is a great spread of home games, and we don’t have the instance this season of having seven straight weeks of home games like 2017.”
The Division 1 Men once again play a fourteen game schedule, with ten games at home and four games on the road.
They play each team once apart from the Geraldton Buccaneers who they play twice as part of the Away/Home double header fixture.
The Division 1 Women will play 12 games in their debut season, which will see nine home games and three road games.
Road games for both teams this season include the Perth Redbacks, Lakeside Lightning and Mandurah Magic with the Geraldton Buccaneers hosting the Mens team only as they are not fielding a team in the Womens’ competition.
Home games times have been altered this season after some consultation by the Giants with their fanbase on the later starts that were introduced in 2017.
The move will see the SBL match return to it’s traditional 7:30pm tipoff compared to the 8pm tipoff last season.
The change will see the following tipoff times adopted for the majority of Giants home games when the Division 1 teams also play.
Division 1 Men – 3:30pm
Division 1 Women – 5:30pm
SBL Men – 7:30pm
“The later starts did make an impact on us.” Crombie said. “We found some families decided not to come to the games or left early as the night went on due to the later finish.” “We asked our fan base and the consensus was they wanted the 7:30pm tipoff, so it’s back.”
“With the inclusion of the new Division 1 team, the new game times for 2018 are going to be a hit with our supporters…. It’s a great time to be a Giants’ fan.”