WIN Entertainment Centre leaking roof halts NBL game
Amid farcical scenes, the Illawarra Hawks’ final home game of the season, against the New Zealand Breakers, was called-off during the third quarter after rain leaked through the roof and onto the court.
Play was stopped with three minutes remaining in the term with the Breakers leading 65-52, when players pointed out water had pooled on the floor at the southern end of the court.
Venue staff worked for close to 40 minutes to fix the issue but weren't able to plug the source of the leak. Coaches Matt Flinn and Dan Shamir convened with the game ultimately abandoned. A crowd of 3,769 was in attendance for the game.
After initial confusion as to which way the result would fall, the NBL released a statement confirming that the Breakers would be deemed the winners given more than half the match had been played.
With Venues NSW having stalled on a $70 refurbishment of the Wollongong venue, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the incident was “highly embarrassing”, telling the Illawarra Mercury “we’ve been pleading for the refurbishment to be done for ages (and) this just highlights the continued neglect of the centre.”
Mayor Bradbery added “one of the most basic needs for a building is a secure, dry shelter from rain – a working roof is essential.”
Local Wollongong member Paul Scully said he would be taking the matter up with the NSW Government, commenting “this is the result of a decade without investment under the current government.”
Sunday's incident is not the first time an NBL match has been halted in Wollongong due to maintenance issues.
A game between the Hawks and Adelaide in January last year saw an entire quarter played without a shot clock after the timepiece froze and couldn't be fixed until halftime.
Sunday's incident will renew calls for an upgrade of the 22-year-old venue, with the embarrassing incident played out on national television.
Basketball great and SBS commentator Andrew Gaze blasted the scenes on the call, labelling it an embarrassment.
Gaze stated “it's more than disappointing, it's embarrassing when you consider the world stage and what this league's been able to do.
"This is something for those at WIN Entertainment Centre ... they've got some questions they need to answer.
"It's disappointing for the fans and disappointing for people watching the broadcast. Hopefully actions are taken so this never happens again."
In response, Venues NSW Chief Executive Paul Doorn said the agency will investigate the issue and “work to resolve it as soon as possible”.