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Call to upgrade WIN Entertainment Centre after leaking roof halts NBL clash
Wollongong’s civic leaders have called on Venues NSW to refurbish the city’s WIN Entertainment Centre following the abandonment of Sunday's National Basketball League clash between the Illawarra Hawks and New Zealand Breakers after rain leaked through the arena’s roof.
Amid farcical scenes, the Hawks’ final home game of the season was called off during the third quarter after rain leaked through the roof and onto the court.
Play was stopped with the Breakers leading 65-52, when players pointed out water had pooled on the floor at the southern end of the court.
Venue staff worked for close to 40 minutes to fix the issue but weren't able to plug the source of the leak. Coaches Matt Flinn and Dan Shamir convened with the game ultimately abandoned.
After initial confusion as to which way the result would fall, the NBL released a statement confirming that the Breakers would be deemed the winners given more than half the match had been played.
With Venues NSW having stalled on a $70 refurbishment of the venue, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the incident was “highly embarrassing”, telling the Illawarra Mercury “we’ve been pleading for the refurbishment to be done for ages (and) this just highlights the continued neglect of the centre.”
Mayor Bradbery added “one of the most basic needs for a building is a secure, dry shelter from rain - a working roof is essential.”
Local Wollongong member Paul Scully said he would taking the matter up with the NSW Government, commenting “this is the result of a decade without investment under the current government.”
Sunday's incident is not the first time an NBL match has been halted in Wollongong due to maintenance issues.
A game between the Hawks and Adelaide in January last year saw an entire quarter played without a shot clock after the timepiece froze and couldn't be fixed until halftime.
Sunday's incident will renew calls for an upgrade of the 20-year-old venue, with the embarrassing incident played out on national television.
Basketball great and SBS commentator Andrew Gaze blasted the scenes on the call, labelling it an embarrassment.
Gaze stated “it's more than disappointing, it's embarrassing when you consider the world stage and what this league's been able to do.
"This is something for those at WIN Entertainment Centre ... they've got some questions they need to answer.
"It's disappointing for the fans and disappointing for people watching the broadcast. Hopefully actions are taken so this never happens again."
In response, Venues NSW Chief Executive Paul Doorn said the agency will investigate the issue and “work to resolve it as soon as possible”.
31st January 2020 - Paul Doorn leaves Venues NSW for Chief Executive role NSW Rugby Union
18th November 2019 - Sydney Kings attain new NBL attendance record
9th October 2019 - NBL generates record viewing figures during first round of the season
4th October 2019 - Melbourne Arena ready for 2019/20 NBL season
17th September 2019 - Adelaide Entertainment Centre transforms into new home for NBL’s 36ers
27th August 2019 - NBL’s Jeremy Loeliger moves from Chief Executive to Commissioner’s role
13th May 2019 - Basketball Australia and NBL agree landmark partnership
23rd December 2018 - Event Hub wins multi-year contract with Venues NSW
3rd September 2018 - WIN Entertainment Centre marks 20 years of events in the Illawarra
20th March 2018 - WIN Entertainment Centre to host critical Fed Cup tie
14th January 2018 - Wollongong’s WIN Stadium to make rugby league history
23rd March 2014 - Bolt failure caused collapse of WIN Stadium roof
28th March 2013 - Last chance for Venues NSW stadium naming sponsorships
23rd November 2012 - Dragons’ future secured at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium
21st September 2011 - High winds damage WIN Stadium’s roof
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