Basketball: Miners to miss weekend games to play in China

OPPORTUNITY: Ballarat Miners Craig Moller (pictured here in the game against Bendigo Braves) and Sam Short will play in overseas exhibition matches against China's Jiangsu Dragons and Yancheng City. Picture: Kate Healy

OPPORTUNITY: Ballarat Miners Craig Moller (pictured here in the game against Bendigo Braves) and Sam Short will play in overseas exhibition matches against China's Jiangsu Dragons and Yancheng City. Picture: Kate Healy

Ballarat Miners players Craig Moller and Sam Short have set off to China with Melbourne United to play in two exhibition matches, after signing with the National Basketball League club in April. 

The trip to China is part of Melbourne’s preseason, with contracted players including Chris Goulding, Tai Wesley and Majok Majok all travelling with the team under new head coach Dean Vickerman. 

But the exhibition matches clash with the Miners’ South East Australia Basketball League game against Melbourne Tigers at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday night. 

With the players’ flight due to arrive on Sunday morning, there is a small chance the pair will be available to play some minutes against Kilsyth at the Mars Minerdome at 2pm on Sunday.

Miners chair Simon Walshe said while it was disappointing for the Miners to lose Moller and Short for some games, it was a fantastic opportunity for the pair and the club supported them “all the way”.

The Miners coaching staff and committee have already had discussions on how best to cover the absence of Moller and Short.

“This is a very important time of the year, we will need to do what is best for all our athletes and our season,” Walshe said.

Meanwhile Ballarat Rush’s Joy Burke has returned to the USA for a friend’s wedding.