Stars of Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) and Melbourne Stars Big Bash League Club will soon play and coach in the Latrobe Valley under new partnership agreements with the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing today announced an array of major sporting activities planned for the region, which will boost jobs and allow communities across the Valley to see their sporting heroes closer to home.

The excitement kicks off next month when all eight NBL teams play two games each at the Traralgon Sports Stadium. The three-day pre-season tournament runs from September 7 to 9.

The region will then be treated to world class cricket when the Melbourne Stars take on the Hobart Hurricanes in a men’s Big Bash pre-season match under lights in Traralgon on Friday 15 December.

Under the partnership, the Stars will bring some of the best T20 cricketers in Australia to the Latrobe Valley, including Glenn Maxwell and Meg Lanning, to help build upon an already strong cricket foundation in the region.

The events are being delivered as part of the Labor Government’s Latrobe Valley Sports and Community Initiative – an $85 million investment in sports and community infrastructure, events and associated support programs.

As well as significant upgrades to local sporting infrastructure, the initiative forges an alliance between the Labor Government and elite Melbourne-based sporting clubs to bring major events to the Latrobe Valley.

While they’re in the region, the teams will work with local clubs to share their expertise, with school children also benefitting from a range of coaching clinics and other activities.

The Latrobe Valley Authority is working with the NBL to maximise these outreach opportunities across the region and to develop content for community clinics, covering topics such as healthy eating, sports skills and respect.

Each of the NBL teams will hold clinics with school children in centres such as Sale, Warragul, Traralgon and Morwell.

The Melbourne Stars will also deliver a range of community engagement activities with schools and local cricket clubs throughout the greater Latrobe Valley region to promote physical activity, health and wellbeing as well as the next generation of cricketers and fans.

The events are part of the Labor Government’s plans to boost jobs in the Valley, with a busy major events schedule bringing visitors to the region, and upgraded sporting facilities and stadiums creating new jobs.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing

“These additional major sporting events in Gippsland will boost the visitor economy, build pride in our communities and drive the growing sense of momentum and excitement about all our region has to offer.”

“Communities, clubs, schools and teams are all helping to shape this record investment in sporting facilities, events and programs across the Latrobe Valley region, and the benefits for our health, economic growth and local pride are enormous.” 

Quote attributable to President of the Melbourne Stars, Eddie McGuire

“We are very proud to support the State Government’s initiative to bring major, elite sporting events to the Latrobe Valley and we are especially thrilled to be bring all the excitement and entertainment of the Big Bash.

“Over the next three years we look forward to putting on spectacular events and to presenting some of the best male and female cricketers in the world.”

Quote attributable to Chief Executive of the Melbourne Stars, Clint Cooper

“We are very excited to be able to bring the Melbourne Stars Big Bash experience to the Latrobe Valley.”

“Cricket is such an important social connector for all, particularly in the Latrobe Valley and we are proud to be part of this terrific initiative.”

Quote attributable to Chief Executive Officer of the NBL, Jeremy Loeliger

“I want to thank the Victorian Government for their support. This is an exciting time for the NBL and we are excited about the opportunity to host this blitz in the Latrobe Valley.”

“This is a great way to showcase NBL and basketball to regional Victoria but also engage with local communities ahead of the start of our 40th anniversary season in October.”

Quote attributable to Latrobe City Council Mayor, Kellie O’Callaghan

“Latrobe City is a community that loves its sport but we know that these visits are often more about the social opportunities than the sporting ones. Young people meeting their sporting idols has an impact – the sports stars can inspire through their words as well as their sporting successes.”

“We are fast developing a reputation as a go-to regional venue for elite sporting events and we are delighted that the NBL and Big Bash stars will be playing right here in our municipality.”