NBL: Pre-season Blitz set to strengthen Crocs’ resurgence
Last week, defending pre-season champions Townsville were named as the hosts of the 2015/16 NBL Blitz.
It is exactly what the franchise and the region has been crying out for.
While their own roster is still a way off being completed, many of their rivals have been busily signing big names, and all those stars will be gathered in one location for the basketball fans of Townsville to feast on.
The likes of Josh Childress, Daniel Johnson, Scottie Wilbekin, AJ Ogilvy, Kevin Lisch, Chris Goulding, Cedric Jackson and Julian Khazzouh will make their way to Townsville for the Blitz, and with plenty more signings to come, particularly imports, this season may just be the most talented in the history of the NBL.
And Crocs’ fans, which have been starved of success in recent seasons but have stuck fat with their at-times-struggling club, will get first live access in a massive opportunity for the franchise to hook fans ahead of the season proper.
Not only that, but the setting for the tournament will be the Townsville Entertainment Centre, known by NBL fans as ‘The Swamp’, which the Crocs will return to in 2015/16 after playing out of the much smaller Townsville RSL Stadium last season.
The Swamp is, and likely always will be, Townsville’s spiritual home court, and has been part of the NBL landscape for two decades.
The return of competition basketball to the fabled stadium is not only huge for the Crocs, who are likely to get many a fan returning to their home games as a result, but fantastic for the entire league as well.
Suddenly, Townsville is back on the map as a destination where teams want to go and play, and the league is happy to have the Crocs hosting showpiece events like the Blitz.
Not bad for a club whose place in the league for 2015/16 and beyond was in jeopardy just a few months ago.
As they have done so often, the community rallied around their beloved club and that is what makes the Crocs such a special part of the NBL.
In return, they have been rewarded as hosts of the Blitz.
Despite winning the tournament last season, it is hard to imagine that the league would have accepted the Crocs' bid and handed them the hosting duties this year had they still been playing out of the Townsville RSL Stadium.
It is now up to the north Queensland franchise to do the rest, starting with a big name signing of their own, and plenty of marketing to ensure that as many people as possible walk through the turnstiles at The Swamp and see first-hand just how good the NBL product is.
It is a golden opportunity for the Crocs’ resurgence to continue and for the franchise to strengthen their position in the league even further.
And for the first time in recent seasons, there seems to be a renewed confidence from the fans, the franchise itself and the league, that the Townsville Crocodiles will succeed.