Basketball: Outstanding away record fuelling NZ Breakers push towards ANBL playoffs return

While many New Zealand-based teams have struggled across the Tasman playing in Australian leagues, NZ Breakers have managed to turn it into their strength, as part of their ANBL championship charge.

Forced to relocate to Australia for two seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, a return to home comforts in 2022/23 has seen the Breakers establish themselves as contenders - on paper at least.

Based in New Zealand again, the Breakers sit third on the ANBL ladder after 24 games, with 14 wins and 10 defeats - eight of those wins have come on the road, compared to just six in front of home fans.

The Breakers have only been beaten three times on their travels, compared to seven times at home.

The good news for the Breakers, who currently sit two wins outside the top two, is that three of their final four regular season matches are away from home.

American import Jarrell Brantley insists the Breakers squad feel obliged to represent the classic Kiwi backs-to-the-wall fighting spirit to deliver success, when the odds are stacked against them.

"I think that stands for what New Zealand is," said Brantley. "I think we'd be doing a disservice, if we didn't do that for New Zealand.

"We're putting our whole country on our backs. This team has won a lot of [championships].

"The guys before did it, it's our job to continue to do so. It's tough, for sure, and there's supposed to be changes to help us in that matter, but at the same time, we're just doing what everybody before us did."

Chasing a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2020, the Breakers' next match sees them face Brisbane Bullets away on Thursday.