A contentious decision not to send any starters to Launceston to face Southern Huskies on Saturday night has been met with derision.
Huskies coach Anthony Stewart was shocked to find out Hawke's Bay Hawks have sent only their bench players.
Coach Zico Coronel and his two assistants are also not boarding the 3200km flight.
But that has fallen on deaf ears from Stewart.
"The disappointing thing is that they're not even bringing their coaches," he said.
Veteran Everard Bartlett will coach the side and play.
Stewart said that "payback will be good".
"For me I'd probably take two or three starters to still be competitive. You don't want to get blown out the last game of the season."
Neither side can move from third and fifth place on the ladder, but the Huskies were keen to claim their first top-four scalp of the season.
But Stewart said considering that motivating goal the integrity of the game will be at stake and the exhibition nature of a flat Silverdome clash could hurt support for the first-year club.
"We've got good sponsors, great crowds in Launceston and a lot of kids coming for the game," he said.
NZNBL general manager Justin Nelson has swiftly reprimanded Hawkes Bay for its actions, but stopped short of saying the club broke any rules by not intending to play its best possible roster.
Hawks chairman Keith Price said the club would cop the criticism, adding it was "not the best look" for the club heading into a knockout final against Canterbury.
"We accept our decision to not send our starters and our coaching staff has raised questions and led to some negative publicity," Price said in a club statement.
Price added that the club did later attempt to put the coach on a plane at the last minute when it decided to review the decision.
"We would like to acknowledge that the inclusion of the Huskies into the NZNBL has been a great success and the Hawks have enjoyed seeing them progress through their first season," Price said.
"To be representing and showcasing Tasmania to everyone in New Zealand is an enormous undertaking and achievement for the Huskies and we look forward to many more years of spirited battle with them.
"On behalf of the Hawks, our coaching staff and players, there is absolutely no intention to show any disrespect to the Huskies, their fans, players or coaches."