Melbourne confident Breakers stars will be worn out from Tall Blacks responsibilities for first match of NBL semi-finals




Melbourne United will be aided by the hectic travel schedule facing New Zealand Breakers stars when they host their opening NBL semi-final clash on Saturday.

Tom Abercrombie.
Sky City Breakers v Cairns Taipans. ANBL Basketball League. Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday 8 October 2017. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga /

Tom Abercrombie in action for the Breakers against Cairns Taipans at Spark Arena in Auckland.

Source: Photosport

Minor premiers United take on the fourth-placed Breakers in a best-of-three series, with the Auckland-based side suffering a disrupted preparation due to FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Their coach Paul Henare also oversees the Tall Blacks and he and five Breakers players have been in South Korea for a World Cup qualifier on Monday night.

They then fly back to Auckland before heading to Melbourne later in the week.

United, in contrast, had no players involved in Australia's two home World Cup qualifiers last Thursday and Sunday, with Chris Goulding (ankle) and Dave Anderson (shoulder) missing out through injury and both are set to play against the Breakers at Hisense Arena.

They were put through a searching training session on Monday, with physicality the focus.

Import centre Josh Boone expected the Breakers to be impacted by the extra travel but said they had enough finals experience to overcome it.

"The travel is going to fatigue them a bit but I'm sure they're treating it as a training camp so they're still going to be ready," Boone said on Monday.

With game two in Auckland on Monday night, Boone said Saturday's match was being treated as must-win.

United have only won one game in New Zealand since 2014.

"It's hugely key - we lose that (first) game we lose home court advantage and we have to win there just to bring the series back to here," he said.

The Breakers beat Melbourne in the semi-finals two years ago after coming from fourth position but United's two wins over them earlier this month snapped the away hoodoo.

"We focus on what's coming up and what we just did, which was beat them in back to back games," said Boone.

"We took that mental edge that they may have had and now it's a clean slate."

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