Kiwi Ballers Across The Ditch – NBL1 Mens

In the last edition of Kiwi Ballers Worldwide – which showcases the range of basketball pathways our Kiwi ballers choose to pursue around the world – we profiled 35 female Kiwi athletes who are balling out in the NBL1 Women’s League.

Next we look at which Kiwi men are flying the flag in the NBL1 men’s competition in Australia, with 26 New Zealanders currently on rosters as at today* – including 10 players with Tall Blacks experience.

While many of our professional and semi-professional Kiwi athletes choose to play in the Sal’s NBL competition in New Zealand – which runs alongside much of the NBL1 season – others elect to ply their trade off-shore for a variety of reasons.

Some players pick up contracts across the ditch if they are unable to secure a suitable deal locally; others look at NBL1 either as a potential springboard into the Aussie NBL competition or a way to stay in shape during the NBL off-season. Lifestyle and family are also two strong factors in an athlete’s decision to play their season offshore.

Once again, let’s dive into each conference:


NBL1 North

The NBL1 North division is the most heavily populated for our Kiwi athletes, with 10 players spread across six teams.

The most dominant player in this conference is undoubtedly Tyrell Harrison, who is averaging 24ppg (on 68% shooting) along with 12rpg and 2.7 blocks per game for the Southern Districts Spartans – dominant numbers for the current Tall Black and Brisbane Bullets centre. Joining Tyrell on the Spartans are in a pair of Kiwis in ex-Sal’s NBL player Nick Fee and former NZ U20’s National Team player, Matthew Wilson.

The Northside Wizards feature a pair of Kiwis in current 3×3 Tall Black Nikau McCullough and Ben Adamson, who appeared for the Southland Sharks last season. The South West Metro Pirates includes 6’10” Jordan Schwalger – who suited up for the Nelson Giants for 17 games in the 2021/22 season – paired up with Zac Carter. Zac was one of the Tall Blacks debutantes that famously took on Australia in 2021 during the height of Covid, in a squad comprised entirely of Australian-based Kiwis.

The North Gold Coast Seahawks is buoyed by the play of Kiwi guard Nathaniel Salmon and his 16ppg and 5rpg, while ex-Otago baller Joshua Reeves is with the Brisbane Capitals. And the Logan Thunder roster includes the young Kiwi duo of Reegan Trejo and Elijah Puna.


NBL1 South

The NBL1 South region features one of New Zealand’s most prized Tall Blacks in Shea Ili. Shea is averaging 15ppg, 6rpg and 5apg for the Sandringham Sabres during his NBL off-season, which saw him win Defensive Player of the Year award following an impressive season with Melbourne United. Another ex-Tall Black, centre Anzac Rissetto, is averaging 11ppg and 5.5rpg for the Knox Raiders, while ex-Sal’s NBL athlete Jarred Burnett is active for the Casey Cavaliers.


NBL1 West

The NBL1 West Conference is a popular location for Kiwis, with six athletes spread across six teams. A familiar name for the Perth Redbacks is Joe Cook-Green; the ex-Tall Black and Canterbury Ram averaging 18.5ppg, 3.7apg and 5rpg this season. Joe made a name for himself last July when the hot-shooting guard scored an NBL1-record 54 points.

The Rockingham Flames features Jonathan Janssen (9ppg, 8rpg), who is a fellow member of the 2021 Tall Blacks squad comprised solely of Australian-based Kiwis. Sal’s NBL fans will recognise the name of Jack Exeter; the ex-Hawks and Rams guard putting up 9ppg and 5rpg for the Eastern Suns.

Another ex-NBL guard, Riley Bensemann is with the Cockburn Cougars, while Tauranga-born Dion Collins is part of the Mandurah Magic squad. And the Perry Lakes Hawks includes Sioeli Vaiangina, who suited up for the Franklin Bulls in the 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown.


NBL1 East

Eight Kiwis are currently suiting up for the NBL1 East, including a pair of talented young athletes based at the NBA Academy in Canberra; FIBA U16 Asia Cup MVP Oscar Goodman and Julius Halaifonua (12.5ppg, 5rpg) – who made his Tall Blacks debut against Hong Kong in February this year – the duo bringing a strong inside presence to their Centre of Excellence team.

The Albury-Wodonga Bandits are led by Kiwi Mitchell Dance (16.5ppg, 5rpg), with the 2021 Tall Black scoring 28 points against Penrith Panthers earlier this month. A pair of past Sal’s NBL athletes can also be found in this conference; ex Jets guard Pafe Momoisea with the Hills Hornets, while former Saints guard Francis Wineera-Mulvihill is averaging 15.5ppg for the Newcastle Falcons.

Two Kiwis are embedded into the Maitland Mustangs squad, in ex-Tuatara athlete Luka Vea alongside James Hunter (13ppg, 5rpg) – who suited up for the Tall Blacks for the FIBA Asia Cup in 2017. Joining them in this division is ex-Rams player Tony Tolovae, who plays for the Inner West Bulls.


NBL1 Central

Just one Kiwi is playing in this conference; Isaac Miller-Jose, who is averaging 13.5ppg and 8rpg for the Norwood Flames. An alumnus of Wellington College, Isaac was part of the Wellington Saint’s championship-winning team in 2021.


Kiwis Playing In NBL1 (2024 season)


Brisbane Capitals – Joshua Reeves

Logan Thunder – Elijah Puna, Reegan Trego

North Gold Coast Seahawks – Nathaniel Salmon

Northside Wizards – Nikau Mccullough, Ben Adamson

Southern Districts Spartans – Tyrell Harrison, Nick Fee, Matthew Wilson

South West Metro Pirates – Jordan Schwalger, Zac Carter


Casey Cavaliers – Jarred Burnett

Knox Raiders – Anzac Rissetto

Sandringham Sabres – Shea Ili


Cockburn Cougars – Riley Bensemann

Eastern Suns – Jack Exeter

Mandurah Magic – Dion Collins

Perry Lakes Hawks – Sioeli Vaiangina

Perth Redbacks – Joe Cook-Green

Rockingham Flames – Jonathan Janssen


Albury-Wodonga Bandits – Mitchell Dance

Centre Of Excellence – Oscar Goodman, Julius Halaifonua

Hills Hornets – Pafe Momoisea

Inner West Bulls – Tony Tolovae

Maitland Mustangs – Luka Vea, James Hunter

Newcastle Falcons – Francis Wineera-Mulvihill


Norwood Flames – Isaac Miller-Jose


* If we’ve missed anyone from this list, please let us know!