Home Australia JackJumpers and Devils can ‘defend the island’ together, says basketball team head

JackJumpers and Devils can ‘defend the island’ together, says basketball team head

0 comment
A group of Tasmanian NBL players cheer, cry and hug each other on the pitch after winning the title.

Still beaming from the JackJumpers’ extraordinary NBL triumph, club chief executive Christine Finnegan is already planning the future of elite sport in Tasmania.

But he’s not just trying to expand the reach of basketball in the state.

A sport that has so often struggled for media and corporate support is now trying to give the AFL an advantage in Tasmania.

“We will be better together exchanging ideas and defending this beautiful island together,” Ms Finnegan said.

JackJumpers players celebrate defeating Melbourne United in game five of the NBL finals series on Sunday.(AAP: James Ross)

The Tasmanian JackJumpers are actively sharing lessons learned from their success with AFL startup club the Tasmania Devils.

“I don’t see why we shouldn’t work hand in hand. We work in different seasons. Obviously we’re a summer sport, the AFL is a winter sport,” he said.

“There’s no doubt it’s a fight for entertainment money and hearts and minds, but I think Tasmanians are so provincial now that they’re going to make room for two of us.”

A woman in a black shirt.

Christine Finnegan says basketball and football clubs can work together.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

The JackJumpers have helped provide guidance to former AFL champion Jack Riewoldt as he attempted to build a culture and identity from the ground up for what they have become the Tasmania Devils.

Finnegan believes it is just the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship between young Tasmanian clubs.

“Jack (Riewoldt) is a big supporter of ours. The fact that he’s supported us, he’s been a really strong vocal spokesperson for us in the AFL world outside of Tasmania.”

Finnegan said the key lesson for the Devils is to build the club on authenticity.

“The important lesson is that we built a club that looks like the people we represent. We are authentic, we are humble, we go about our business quietly, we don’t shout anything from the rooftops,” he said.

“We just wanted to create a club that looked like that so people could identify with us.

“I think Tasmanians pick a fraud a mile away. They don’t want someone coming in and telling them how to do things or how they’re going to work.

“It’s those three words on a wall: ‘defend the island’ and they are backed by authenticity and humility.”

A man cheering.

JackJumpers’ Will Magnay enjoys the welcome from the team’s heroes at Hobart Airport after Sunday’s win.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Finnegan praises the man who coined the phrase that has become a mantra for Tasmanians.

He said it was obvious from the moment Scott Roth was named JackJumpers coach that he was the right person to lead the team.

“He spent many days and hours in his car going up and down that road trying to get people involved,” he said.

“When we were looking at what our mission and vision would be, we had all these ideas and Scott said, ‘to me it’s just standing up for the island,’ and it resonated so beautifully throughout our business and then so beautifully throughout the state.”

Finnegan said the JackJumpers had changed the national perception of elite sport in Tasmania.

“They can’t humiliate us anymore.

“We’ve stood up for this island but we’ve also said ‘take us seriously’ because we’re now a real thing on the national and international sporting stage and of course the AFL teams are following us.”


You may also like