The Newcastle Hunters' 2020 title defence has been put on ice due to coronavirus concerns.

The Newcastle Hunters’ Waratah League season opener at Newcastle Basketball Stadium—which was set to be hosted as a double-header alongside the men’s team—has been put on ice amidst growing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

The defending champions, who swept aside the Canberra Nationals 86-61 to lift the 2019 title last August, were alerted of the decision to delay the round on Saturday morning. The organisers made the call based on advice from Basketball NSW.

The Hunters were set to play Penrith as they lifted the curtain on the long-awaited 2020 campaign. There has been no indication when the delayed round will be played.

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“Basketball NSW has made the decision to suspend all Basketball NSW managed programs, events, and fixtures until further notice,” Basketball NSW’s statement read.

“Basketball NSW will consult with local associations regarding their own domestic competitions next week. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our basketball family, however, the health and welfare of players, staff, officials, and fans is paramount. Further updates will be provided in the coming days and weeks.”

Newcastle Basketball has confirmed all junior and senior domestic club competitions will continue as normal, despite the delay of the top-flight state league.