Home Sports Dean Rioli: The inclusion of Darwin Soltis’ NBL One means so much...

Dean Rioli: The inclusion of Darwin Soltis’ NBL One means so much to our hometown


The introduction of Darwin Salties to the NBL One North conference was a huge injection for sports in Darwin.

NBL One Competition is a semi-professional basketball league in Australia, consisting of southern, northern, central, western and eastern conferences with men’s and women’s competitions.

Present in the second round against Townsville Heath, I quickly felt that when I entered the stadium, I felt a thrill that I had never felt at the Darwin Sports Arena.

It was wonderful to see how many children with Salties T-shirts and basketball in their hands want to get to the stadium with their parents.

I have watched Darwin Basketball for years since my wife Sam made a successful career playing with the Tracey Village Jets at the Darwin Basketball Association.

Dean Rioli.

On the day of the DBA Grand Final the stadium sounds an electric rumble, but it’s more than that and it will take place weekly.

Now Top End has its own local basketball team that we can keep up with.

The standard of basketball is incredible, and everyone who attends the game automatically becomes a repeat visitor.

They will even feel the need to purchase a Salties shirt on the way out until the next visit.

The quality of the recruits to both the men’s and women’s teams, which the Salties were able to attract to the competition, suggests that the standard of basketball in this league is worth moving to Darwin.

The talented locals representing the teams are definitely the favorites of the crowd, and it’s nice to see them perform with their stuff on the big stage.

Former NBL Illawarra Hawks coach Matthew Flynn is now the head coach of the men’s team, which has been a big coup for the club.

His profile and coaching powers have attracted some amazing talent, but more importantly, he understands the role his players play in interacting with the community to attract more children to basketball.

Rod Tremlet is the women’s head coach, and it’s nice to see him coach at that level after a very successful DBA career where he coached the “Tracy Village Jets” to 12 straight wins in the Grand Final.

Now there is a real way for our youth to play in a quality competition in their hometown and show their talents to potentially move on to bigger and better things like Abby Kubillo, which Darwin is now doing, for Canberra Capitals at WNBL where she has now won two WNBL Championships.

I strongly encourage the Darwin community to start playing with the family, as I guarantee that you will be fascinated and will plan the next game.

  • Dean Rioli is a Munupi man from the Tivi Islands. Mr. Rioli is the Managing Director of Bunji Hire and a former Esendan footballer


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