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The Blitz is back at the Top End

THE NBL's preaseason tournament returns to Darwin for the third time, tipping off on Friday with its "Blitz" series after previous "Top End Challenges" won by the Hawks and Wildcats of old. But this series is all about "the new" with Adelaide 36ers unveiling Craig Randall in the opening match with South East Melbourne.

He joins a retooled 36ers team chasing its first championship since 2002 and with arguably its best team (on paper) since Joey Wright took his Mitch Creek-led Sixers to the championship series against Melbourne United in 2018.

Creek is back leading a Phoenix outfit which also has undergone several key off-season changes after a disappointing finish to their 2022 campaign.

Adelaide coach CJ Bruton, no longer constrained by the mediocre menagerie he was lumbered with in his head coaching debut, now gets his chance to stamp his vision on a team worthy of the fan fanatacism of the city of churches.

On Saturday, 2022 grand finallists Sydney and Tasmania renew hostilities and Perth, with John Rillie in charge of the battle plan, taking on Cairns.

Sunday and it is Brisbane-New Zealand and a first look at NBA champion Aron Baynes with the Bullets. From there, it is last season's losing semi finallists Illawarra and Melbourne trialling their revamped teams.

The rest of the draw is:


Adelaide 36ers: Antonius Cleveland, Robert Franks, Craig Randall II, Daniel Johnson, Mitch McCarron, Sunday Dech, Kai Sotto, Anthony Drmic, Deng Acouth

Brisbane Bullets: Aron Baynes, Nathan Sobey, Jason Cadee, DJ Mitchell, Tyler Johnson, Harry Froling, Devondrick Walker, Tanner Krebs, Tyrell Harrison

Cairns Taipans: Tahjere McCall, DJ Hogg, Ben Ayre, Keanu Pinder, Jonah Antonio, Bul Kuol, Majok Deng, Mirko Djeric, Shannon Scott

Illawarra Hawks: Tyler Harvey, George King, Sam Froling, Daniel Grida, Deng Deng, Wani Swaka Lo Buluk, William Hickey, Mangok Mathiang, Justin Robinson, Alex Mudronja, Lachlan Dent

Melbourne United: Chris Goulding, Ariel Hukporti, Shea Ili, Jordan Caroline, Brad Newley, Isaac Humphries, Rayjon Tucker, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Mason Peatling

New Zealand Breakers: Tom Abercrombie, William McDowell-White, Tom Vodanovich, Rob Loe, Sam Timmins, Izayah Le'Afa, Daniel Fotu, Dererk Pardon, Cam Gliddon, Alex McNaught, Barry Brown

Perth Wildcats: Bryce Cotton, Mitch Norton, Luke Travers, Brady Manek, Corey Webster, Kyle Zunic, Jesse Wagstaff, Todd Blanchfield, Majok Majok, TaShawn Thomas

South East Melbourne Phoenix: Mitch Creek, Alan Williams, Gary Browne, Trey Kell, Ryan Broekhoff, Reuben Te Rangi, Kyle Adnam, Dane Pineau

Sydney Kings: Xavier Cooks, Dejan Vasiljevic, Angus Glover, Derrick Walton Jr, Jordan Hunter, Justin Simon, Kouat Noi, Shaun Bruce, Iggy Mitchell, Isaac Gatorna, Jaylin Galloway

Tasmania JackJumpers: Josh Magette, Jack McVeigh, Rashard Kelly, Milton Doyle, Will Magnay, Clint Steindl, Fabjian Krslovic, Jarred Bairstow, Isaac White, Sam McDaniel, Matt Kenyon

Sep 13

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