Calls for a specialised Launceston basketball, netball stadium increase

LET'S DO IT: Launceston MVP and SEABL Lauren Nicholson celebrates with teammates in Bendigo.
LET'S DO IT: Launceston MVP and SEABL Lauren Nicholson celebrates with teammates in Bendigo.

A SEABL sellout and a booked-out Silverdome have renewed calls for a boutique Northern Tasmanian basketball and netball stadium.

Elphin Sports Centre will be at capacity for the Launceston Tornadoes preliminary final on Saturday night, while the Dancesport Tasmania championships have forced Northern Hawks and Cavaliers to play home semi-finals in Ulverstone.

About 1100 people will cheer on the Torns in a high-stakes match against Nunawading, while hundreds have been left disappointed at missing out on tickets.

Torns chair Janie Finlay, who mooted a need for a Launceston multi-sports facility with a capacity of between 2000 and 3000 seats in 2016, joined Cavs coach Dannie Carstens this week in asking for the idea to be prioritised.

“We need great facilities,” Finlay said on Friday.

“We love Elphin and are grateful for the support we get at this venue, but we just don’t fit.” 

Torns to thrive off capacity crowd

Seventy-six last-minute tickets to this weekend’s SEABL blockbuster were snavelled up by hungry fans within 60 seconds on Friday morning.

The seats were up for grabs after Launceston Tornadoes’ preliminary final opponents Nunawading failed to use its 100-ticket allocation.

A capacity crowd of 1100 people will be witness to the do-or-die encounter at Elphin Sports Centre on Saturday night with hundreds left to follow the match via a livestream.

Some fans disappointed about missing out expressed their frustration on social media and called for a bigger venue, something that Torns chair Janie Finlay agrees is necessary.

“There has been a call across Tasmania for greater facilities for basketball, which is a growing sport in the state,” the Launceston mayoral candidate said on Friday.

“When you’ve got Hobart Chargers and the Launceston Tornadoes in their preliminary finals, it shows that we’re on the rise and that good things are happening.

“We need great facilities. We love Elphin and are grateful for the support we get at this venue but we just don’t fit.

“We can’t train here. Junior, seniors and everybody, now that we have amalgamated into the Launceston Basketball Association we do need to boost facilities.

“The state government is doing some work on scoping that. 

“I know that in the next few years there will be a commitment and we will have better facilities for basketball in Northern Tasmania.”

Finlay said sports venues need to be flexible and cater for a variety for sports and events.

She said her players are excited for what is being dubbed the city’s biggest basketball match in two decades, with the Torns to advance through to next week’s championship match in Melbourne should the Derrick Washington-coached outfit win.

“We are so excited that the Launceston community have got behind us yet again,” Finlay said.

“The home-court advantage for our girls is going to be phenomenal. 

“They love the energy and feeling around them while they’re playing and there is no doubt it will help them on Saturday.”

The Torns, who will be without Opals squad member and skipper Lauren Mansfield, fell to the Spectres by 20 points in round 9 in their only clash of the season to date.

Finlay said fans without a ticket can watch a livestream of the game at Hog’s Breath Cafe or at home via the club’s Facebook page.

Netball pushes for new stadium

An ongoing proposal for a new indoor sports stadium in Launceston is continuing to gain further momentum. 

Dannie Carstens.

Dannie Carstens.

Cavaliers coach Dannie Carstens is backing a new home venue for State League netball to replace its longstanding arrangement with the Silverdome.

Cavaliers and Northern Hawks have been forced to play their home semi-finals on Saturday at Ulverstone.

Carstens was disappointed the Dancesport Tasmania championships were taking precedence over the Silverdome’s regular tenants.

“It would be nice to play at the Silverdome when you earn the right by finishing first or third in that home final,” Carstens said.

“But you can only control what you can control and until netball as a sport has their own home ground that is not own by a private company that can lease it to whoever it wants, we really can’t do anything about it.

“It’s all about controlling what we can control and that’s what happens on court, but hopefully enough supporters will come along and travel to Ulverstone.”

Launceston Tornadoes raised the idea in 2016 for community support behind a new multi-purpose facility.

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