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'We can't win without great New Zealanders' – Breakers owner reiterates need for Kiwi stars

Breakers owner Matt Walsh reiterated the need for a core of strong Kiwi talent, amid fears the club are moving away from their traditional identity.

With much of the focus ahead of the upcoming season on the Breakers' imports, with promising US youngster RJ Hampton headlining an impressive roster, the Kiwi club appears to be shifting away from their focus on local talent.

What's more, having lost club legends Mika Vukona, Kirk Penney, Paul Henare, Kevin Braswell among others, the feeling from fans is that the Breakers are moving away from their strong local identity.

However, speaking to 1 NEWS, owner Walsh made it clear that a strong New Zealand connection will always be needed to see the club succeed on and off the court.

"One of our biggest assets is that we have the Tall Blacks, who are based here in New Zealand and a big part of our team," Walsh said.

"Tom Abercrombie is our captain, there's no question about that, he's the leader of our team. We've got Finn Delaney, Rob Loe, Corey Webster. We've got six Tall Blacks.

"Just because we signed two Australians, doesn't mean we're moving away from our Kiwi roots - that's our biggest advantage.

"Look around the league, there's no other team that has six national team players. Of course they're a huge part of the team.

"Our league is largely driven by imports, we need to have great imports, but they complement each other. We can't win without great

New Zealanders, and we can't win without great imports.

Walsh also took time to personally address fans over concerns that the Breakers' identity is being diluted under his ownership.

"Take a look at what we're really doing.

"We do more in the community than we've ever done. We are developing more Kiwi talent then we ever have.

"We're investing more in the club, to grow the club so it's sustainable, that we can be around for a long time, than we ever have.

"I may not be a Kiwi and have a Kiwi accent, but my family lives here. I had a daughter here. We're really invested here.

"All we want to see is New Zealand embarrassing Australia in their league, and winning some championships.

"You look at our mission statement, it's to grow the game of basketball, to use basketball to do good in the community, and to provide entertainment.

"If we do those three things, we'll win on the court as well."

The Breakers begin their new NBL season away to the Sydney Kings on October 18.

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Matt Walsh says the Breakers are dependent on their local talent. Source: 1 NEWS


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