Basketball Tasmania may be forced to step into the dispute between the North-West Thunder and the North-West Basketball Union over the availability of Tasmanian young gun Sejr Deans.
The sport's governing body will soon sit down to discuss the rule, and could intervene, in what is the first test of the so-called strengthened relationship between the NWBU and the Thunder following the restructure of the sport in the state.
The tension has come after the NWBU last week rejected a request for Launceston teenager Deans to be available for the NBL1 club without playing in the Coastal competition.
The NWBU rule states that a Thunder player must play 40 per cent of the NWBU season to be eligible for the team.
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North-West Thunder chairman Tony Barker this week said he was confident that the Thunder would have Deans on its books this season.
"It is frustrating on a few levels, although I can see where the NWBU is coming from with their historical position of protecting the North-West Coast competition and their clubs within that," he said.
"Moving forward though it doesn't make a lot of sense, moving into the new structure that is not is not in place yet that we are working towards.
"We have got only two teams for the North of the state, one for the men and one for the women, really need to be seeing the whole North as feeding into the Thunder in relation to the men.
"At NBL1 level, we need to have a broader view than just the North-West."
Barker agreed with the NWBU's perspective that Thunder players should play in a lower level competition to support basketball in the region, but felt it would be fair for Launceston players to do so in their local league.
"I do think it is important for us to have Thunder players playing in the lower level competition,'' he said.
"But it makes sense in this new world and with this Deans case as a special circumstance, he is a Launceston player and it makes sense for him to play at the lower level closer to home.
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"Likewise, for players on the North-West, it makes sense for them to play in the North-West and to me that would be a simple situation."
A grey area in the rule was created during season 2019 when Kai Woodfall was able to play for the Thunder without representing a NWBU club.
NWBU president Kim Robinson believed the situation was different because the NWBU season was over when Woodfall started playing in the NBL1.
Deans, a national under-16 representative, believed his changed personal circumstances should be counted.
"Going into college, with that study and playing and training, I don't think it makes sense for me to be getting home after midnight four days every week to do Thunder and NWBU," he said.
"It is also hard for me to play NWBU this because I don't have someone to give me a lift, I went with Jackson Lowe and he isn't playing again this season."