As a result of the Sal's NBL announcement on Saturday, (followed by yesterday's New Zealand Government decision) that all overseas visitors must follow the Ministry of Health's 14-day self-isolation guidance, the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks have been working with their players and team management over the weekend to coordinate revised pre-season plans ahead of the 2020 NBL season.
The Sharks fully support the League's decision and applaud its proactive approach to ensure the well-being of our clubs' fans, players and personnel and to do our bit to limit the spread of COVID-19.
As you will imagine we are in the process of working through the logistical challenges this creates and whilst it will limit the ability to have our full squad together as planned on 23 March, a limited preseason is nothing we haven't had to contend with in seasons past.
We can confirm all of our New Zealand-based players will be unaffected. Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris, Dom Kelman-Poto, Dane Brooks, Alonzo Burton and our Invercargill-based players Andrew Wheeler, Connor Coll and Tom Cowie (plus one additional local player and our Development selections) will all be able to complete full team activities without disruption as planned from 23rd March.
SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks Head Coach Rob Beveridge, along with Australian-based imports Jarrad Weeks and Sunday Dech, team manager Troy Paulin and one current import roster spot to be announced, will all be subject to the 14-day self isolation protocol.
In Beveridge's case, his arrival this Thursday (19 March) means he will commence full team duties on Thursday 2nd April, whilst Weeks and Dech's arrival on 23rd March will mean their team activities will commence on 6 April.
The Sharks open their 2020 Sal's NBL campaign on Friday 10 April in Auckland against the Franklin Bulls.
Assistant coach Leyton Haddleton will coordinate team activities and trainings in the interim and there is no impact on scheduled preseason games.
This situation continues to evolve and we will keep you, the best fans in the NBL, updated with details as they are confirmed. We have every confidence in our and the League's ability to manage an unprecedented set of circumstances and are even more excited to get the season started.