Tournament. Having mastered their defence on the court, Smithton Basketball Club’s next challenge will be to break through the Australia Defence Force’s (ADF) basketball teams’ barriers.
The ADF will visit Smithton next week as part of a 10-day tour of the state, playing local clubs including the Smithton Saints’ men’s and women’s seniors sides on Wednesday February 3.
ADF women’s coach and former local Janeter Turnbull is eager to return to her hometown and the club which raised her.
“Smithton Basketball Club taught me everything I know about the game,” she said, having started her sporting career as a junior with the club before progressing to the senior side, as well as taking on coaching and umpiring responsibilities.
“The Saints were like my family.”
Now a training systems officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) based in Williamtown in New South Wales, Turnbull is the head coach of the women’s representative side.
“The Smithton Saints laid a massive foundation for me and to bring the ADF team back home is really nice. It’s an opportunity to show everyone this is what you can get involved in,” she said.
Selected from round-robin state matches between the RAAF, Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army, players are further selected to compete in a national 10-day carnival where the best are chosen to take part in the upcoming tour.
“The teams we are bringing to Tassie are the best basketballers in the ADF available at the time,” Turnbull said, noting the difficulties of organising a tour due to posting and deploying.
“It’s difficult to develop basketballers because of limited time. The team will have trained together for three hours prior to their first game.”
Having toured other Australian states and New Zealand in previous years, this is the first time the tour will come to Tasmania.
Smithton Basketball Club treasurer Sally Elliott said the club was thrilled to be hosting the national team.
“Janeter came to watch a game last year [and] suggested it then. We thought it was an awesome idea,” Elliott said.
The ADF will host a free clinic from 3pm on Wednesday at Smithton High School’s gymnasium before the women kick-off at 6.30pm at the Smithton Sports Centre.
“It’s not just about basketball, it’s about involving the whole community,” Elliott said.
The ADF will return on the weekend of February 6 and 7 to verse the Saints in the Lighthouse Tournament.
“This will be the most games we have ever arranged in one tour,” Turnbull said of the commitments, and thanked the club for the generosity.
“To be able to show small towns like Smithton that the camaraderie and closeness of the Defence Force extend into defence basketball.”
What: Australian Defence Force basketball team V Smithton Basketball Club
When: Wednesday February 3, 6.30pm
Where: Smithton Sports Centre