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Blow for United, boon for Tassie

MELBOURNE United has suffered a further injury blow with import Scotty Hopson ruled out of tonight's NBL home game against Brisbane, but fans in Launceston tomorrow night are in for a treat.

Tickets for children attending the New Zealand-Perth fixture at Launceston's Silverdome will cost just $5.

And that will remain the case for all Breakers "home" games at the Silverdome.

Tomorrow night's clash will be the first NBL regular season game staged in Tasmania since 2005 and comes ahead of the league’s 10th club, the Tasmania JackJumpers, making their debut in the league later this year.

Launceston though is no stranger to the NBL, providing the league's 1981 champion (below), led by the late, great Ian Davies and Cliff Martin.

After four decades, it is great to see the game return to the city.

“We can’t wait for the NBL to return to Tasmania and with tickets for children just $5 each we look forward to seeing lots of families at the Silverdome over the coming weeks," NBL owner Larry Kestelman said.

“We thank the Tasmanian Government for its support in bringing these games to Launceston. They will give Tasmanians a chance to enjoy world class sport and entertainment and get a taste of what’s to come when the JackJumpers make their debut later this year.”

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said: "I welcome the New Zealand Breakers to the Launceston Silverdome and I expect they will make the venue a 'home away from home' ahead of the entry of our own Tasmania JackJumpers to the national competition later this year.

"Like all Tasmanian basketball fans, I am excited to see the return of NBL games to Tasmania and I urge supporters to book early to experience the excitement of elite level basketball."

Meanwhile losing Scotty Hopson, on top of the season-ending Achilles tendon rupture to star recruit Jack White and doubt over Shea Ili makes United super-vulnerable tonight against the Bullets at John Cain Arena.

Melbourne's recent winning streak and Perth's loss to Adelaide saw United jump back to the head of the table but with Brisbane fifth and challenging for the Final Four, this game has huge potential ramifications.

Hopson was finding the type of form which last season made him an MVP contender and an All Star, doubling the blow for United.

Apr 12

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