‘WNBL grand final deserves its own stage’
Opals coach Sandy Brondello is disappointed the NBL has scheduled a pre-season game at the same time as Sunday's WNBL grand final, declaring: "the women's decider deserves its own stage".
The Sydney Kings host the Hawks at 3pm Sydney time, a direct clash with the women's final set for 2pm Queensland time in Townsville.
Friday's preliminary final between the Townsville Fire and the Melbourne Boomers at 6pm Queensland time is also impacted, with the Brisbane Bullets hosting the South East Melbourne Phoenix on the Gold Coast an hour later from 7pm.
The Bullets also play the Phoenix at midday Queensland time on Sunday, just two hours before the WNBL grand final between the Southside Flyers and the winner of Friday's Fire and Boomers clash.
An NBL spokesperson said the clubs scheduled their pre-season games and the NBL approves them as a matter of protocol.
Brondello understands it is difficult to schedule games but says the WNBL grand final should have been considered when planning a pre-season fixture so the collective basketball community could tune in.
"I just think it is really disappointing," Brondello said.
"The WNBL is one of the best leagues in the world and this is our finals series and people will have to make a choice on what to watch.
"It would be great if we could get as many eyes on the WNBL final as its own platform.
"I still think the WNBL is not as well known as it should be with all the successes that we've had.
"I know BA and the NBL work well together, but it is just disappointing because the WNBL has some great talent with so many Opals players involved."
Brondello, who also coaches the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, declared that the NBA would never schedule a game on the same time as a women's decider.
"The WNBA is under the NBA's umbrella and we've had great support from them, and we usually don't have TC games on at the same time," she said.
"I know it isn't always easy, but it is about showing your support for the other side.
"At the end of the day it is basketball, and we need to work together."
Brondello believes Basketball Australia deserves enormous credit for pushing forward with a season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The WNBL has also locked in its first CBA in the league's history.
"BA has done a great job with the Queensland government and regional city councils just to get the season up and running," she said.
"And it has been really high quality. You don't want to lose your momentum during a pandemic.
"It took a lot of work to get the season going but it was necessary, and as the Opals coach it has been fantastic watching the games and seeing the talent that we have coming through.
"We are still trying to make our sport bigger and bigger. Australia is the second biggest team in the world, and the WNBL is one of the best leagues in the world, but we are just trying to make that more known for everyone in Australia."
Originally published as 'WNBL grand final deserves its own stage'