ANBL: NZ Breakers' season opener delayed by COVID-19 outbreak in Brisbane

NZ Breakers' season-opening showdown with archrivals Perth Wildcats has been postponed, with the Western Australians trapped by the Brisbane COVID-19 outbreak.

The Auckland team were due to visit Perth on January 17, but that fixture has been called off, after the home side were detained by WA border closures.

The Wildcats had travelled east for their pre-season build-up, when Brisbane went into lockdown and Western Australia blocked travellers from the state of Queensland.

When they are eventually permitted back home, players face two weeks of self-quarantine before entering general population, so the Australian NBL schedule has been thrown into disarray.

"The latest changes to the schedule have been made necessary by the developments in Queensland, where we currently have five teams - Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne United, Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats," says NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger. 
"We will start the season in Cairns and Adelaide, but we will continue to monitor the situation in Brisbane in the hope we can also host a game there in the opening round. 
"We will continue to stay flexible and be guided by the relevant state health authorities, but our intention is still for all teams to play 14 home games across the season when they are able to do so."

The Breakers will now open their season against Adelaide 36ers on January 20.

The four-time champions relocated across the Tasman last month to prepare for the campaign in Melbourne, but were forced to move base to Tasmania, after the coronavirus returned to Victoria.