We couldn't be more excited about the new season, and there’s a real buzz around the NBL’s ninth and newest team: South East Melbourne Phoenix. Alongside our very own Melbourne United, Melbourne Arena has become home to both teams for the 2019-20 season. Wondering which team you should be backing? Here’s more on what you can expect of both squads ahead of the upcoming games…
South East Melbourne Phoenix
Formed just over a year ago, the Phoenix will be playing their first NBL games this season. General Manager (and ex-Melbourne Tigers player) Tommy Greer will be leading the team, and as a two-time NBL champion, he’s earned his stripes.
Greer stated back in November, when the name and logo for the team was announced, that he believed the name ‘represents the rebirth of basketball in South East Melbourne’.
If their pre-season performance is anything to go by, Melbourne United might have a fight on their hands: the Phoenix won both Blitz games, including a 102-95 win over New Zealand Breakers…
… but they’ve got some work to do if they want to beat the champs: since their debut in 1984 as the Melbourne Tigers, Melbourne United have won 5 NBL championships, spanning from 1993 to 2018.
They rebranded as Melbourne United in 2014, hoping to unite fans into supporting the last remaining Victorian team in the NBL.
This is where it gets interesting – here we are 5 years on with a new Melbournian club for United to face. Battle’s on – but why now?
It seems like the decision makers in the NBL wanted to recreate the rivalry between South East Melbourne Magic and the Melbourne Tigers between 1992 and 1998. Basketball really exploded on to the scene during this time, with packed out arenas when they faced off and fans getting invested in the battle between the two.
Jury’s out on who’ll come out on top, but it’s fair to say that the addition of this brand-new team will make this the biggest season yet!
The Phoenix have started strong, but you can bet that United are ready to defeat their home court and keep their standing as Melbourne’s No.1 basketball club.
If you want to witness the season opener first hand, you’d better be quick – there are only a few tickets left! Head here to get a slice of the action.