The New Zealand basketball league has an international flavour this season – with the Tasmania Huskies flying the Australian flag on this side of the Tasman.
But like most Kiwi sides competing in Aussies competitions, the Huskies will have to deal with an extraordinary amount of travel.
They could be forgiven for having a little down time, after their hectic schedule over the past 48 hours.
“Getting half of our team stuck in Hobart – they couldn’t even leave – and then missing the connecting flight to Auckland made it even harder,” says Huskies captain Craig Moller.
Thursday night’s one-point win over the Manawatu Jets was made even more remarkable, with the players only arriving in Palmerston North from Australia hours before tip-off.
“A couple of the guys had no sleep prior to the game last night, so to come out with a win under those circumstances is pretty huge for this group,” says coach Anthony Stewart.
On Friday morning, the team arrived in Wellington to squeeze in some court practice, before playing the hometown Saints.
“We’re here to win,” says Moller.
If this trying tale of travel wasn’t enough, the Huskies only have nine players on their roster.
On a journey that is far from over, sold-out flights and accommodation mean they’ll travel by road for their final match against the Hawks in Napier.
“It wasn’t cost, it was Easter,” says Stewart. “The problem is everywhere is booked out, so we’ve got to stay in Palmerston North tomorrow night, due to Napier being booked out.”
Kiwi teams are yet to travel, but scheduling could be made easier, with more Australian teams interested in joining the league.
“To be able to go to Australia and play a couple of games against a couple of teams definitely it helps logistically and financially,” says NBL general manager Justin Nelson.
For the Huskies, it’s back in the car for a roadie to Hawke’s Bay, before catching two flights home to Hobart.