Queensland basketball fans are having to take “Boxing Day derby” off their Christmas wishlists after players at the Brisbane Bullets tested positive to Covid-19 on Friday morning.
The positive test results have forced the postponement of Sunday’s clash between the Cairns Taipans and the Bullets in compliance with the NBL’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
After “several individuals in the Illawarra Hawks camp” tested positive to Covid-19 this week, Thursday’s match between the Hawks and the South East Melbourne Phoenix was postponed on game day.
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Given the Bullets were the last team to play the Hawks before the Covid-19 diagnoses were confirmed, the Queensland government declared all Bullets players close contacts and ordered them to undergo follow-up testing.
In a statement released on Christmas Eve, the Bullets confirmed that the NBL had no other option but to postpone the Queensland derby.
“The health and safety of our players, coaches, clubs, staff and fans is our No.1 priority when considering these matters,” a Bullets spokesperson said.
“The Bullets will continue to follow the advice of governments and health authorities. Regular testing of all players and staff will continue, while further testing will be carried out on individuals impacted or those deemed close contacts.”
The Hawks on Friday confirmed that the second match of this year’s Freeway Series, scheduled to be played against intrastate rivals the Sydney Kings on New Year’s Eve, would be postponed, as would the clash with the Taipans originally set for January 2.
“Our main goal now is to support our players through their isolation period and make sure their health is taken care of,” said Hawks co-owner and president Dorry Kordahi.
“We will focus on getting them game ready once they come out of isolation.
“As a club, we have received amazing support from our corporate partners, community and fans alike – our players are very appreciative of the support.
“Everyone is raring to get going again and continue our strong start to the season.
“During the off-season, we focused on putting together a group we believe will be a title contender.
“This setback will only make us stronger and unite closer as a group.
“Culture is important to this club and these situations help build on that.”