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NBL tougher than ever, says Breakers' boss
20:16 AEST Thu Jul 26 2012

Gold Coast Blaze's withdrawal from the National Basketball League has made the competition for play-off spots tougher, New Zealand Breakers general manager Richard Clarke says.

Clarke says the available playing talent will now condense into eight teams, strengthening the overall competition.

"We will play each other team four times, two at home and two on the road," he said.

"What was already a very even spread of contenders will now become tougher, and I'm sure lead to some great rivalries throughout the season."

A revised NBL schedule has been released following the withdrawal of the Gold Coast Blaze due to financial reasons, with the champion Breakers hosting the first game of the eight-team competition on October 5.

The Breakers' season opener is a repeat of last year's grand final against the Perth Wildcats at the North Shore Events Centre on October 5.

The play-off structure won't change following the Blaze withdrawal, with the top four teams qualifying for the best-of-three semi-finals series. The top-seeded team will still enjoy home advantage throughout the post season.

Clarke also confirmed the Breakers' pre-season, with the back-to-back champions playing games against Wollongong Hawks in Christchurch on September 11, Dunedin two days later and Hamilton on September 15.