NBL1 East Team Introduction – Albury Wodonga Bandits

RECENTLY, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 announced the introduction of a league based on the Eastern seaboard, as they expanded their work across Australia. With the Australian basketball system producing more talent than ever, it was a justified move, as the eastern league joins the NBL1 North, NBL1 South, NBL1 Central and NBL1 West as the competitions spread out across Australia.

The league will be made up of 12 teams from the eastern shores of Australia, with many coming from the Waratah 1 competition. The NBL1 has shown this competition allows teams to take their respective games to the next level, and the teams entering NBL1 East will be looking to do the same. In this series, we introduce you to the 12 sides who will be taking the court in the league’s inaugural season. First up on the agenda is the Albury Wodonga Bandits.

The Albury Wodonga Bandits were formed in 1984, when a men’s side joined the South Eastern Basketball League (SEBL). During their initial run, they were based out of Wodonga in Victoria, however this changed the following year as they began to split their time between Wodonga and Albury, hence the name change.

It took nearly two decades for the Bandits to taste success during their time in the league, which eventually rebranded to the SEABL and the ABA. Their first championship came in 2001, when they claimed the title in the ABA East competition.

When they ended up in the SEABL’s South Conference in 2012, the Bandits were able to finally hit some strong form, not only taking out the conference title, but also the entire SEABL National Championship. This was a vital moment for their organisation, which had been starved of success for so long, claiming their first SEABL championship. While they did not claim another SEABL title, this hunger should serve them well as they enter the NBL1’s East league, with some new opponents for Brad Chalmers‘ side to face.

The Bandits women’s side entered the SEABL in 2006, and are yet to claim their maiden flag, despite a postseason appearance in 2009. After joining the NBL1 South in 2019, the Bandits will be able to face some opponents who are a little closer to home.

The sides are currently based in Albury in New South Wales, with the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre their home arena. With a rich history in both Victoria and New South Wales, the men’s and women’s Bandits sides will be looking to make their early mark on the NBL1 East competition.

Photo: Mark Jesser

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