The Hunters will put their "hand up" to play in a new-look state competition next year with Newcastle Basketball general manager Neil Goffet describing the move as "another great step forward" for the sport.
The introduction of NBL1 East in 2022 was announced on Tuesday, replacing the current Waratah League and bringing NSW into line with the rest of the country.
NBL1 East (NSW) joins existing NBL1 competitions - South (Victoria, Tasmania), North (Queensland), Central (South Australia) and West (Western Australia) - to make a national approach with five conferences.
However, not all teams playing in this year's Waratah League, including the Hunters and Maitland Mustangs, are guaranteed to return for the following campaign with NBL1 East set to reveal teams at a later date.
Goffet is keen for the Hunters to field both men's and women's sides in Newcastle as part of the inaugural NBL1 East competition 12 months down the track.
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"It's very exciting and another great step forward for basketball in Newcastle and throughout NSW," Goffet told the Newcastle Herald.
"At this point all we know is that Basketball NSW and the NBL have signed an agreement to make this happen and fall into line with the other states and they will commence conversations about individual licences soon.
"It's a significant step for the sport where the state governing bodies are aligned to a private enterprise, like the NBL is, and it will make for a much better competition.
"The players will benefit enormously from better competition every week.
"We will certainly be putting our hand up and we're happy to commence talks about our licence the minute BNSW is ready."
Goffet is hopeful the likes of WNBL players such as Cassidy McLean (Bendigo Spirit) and Lara McSpadden (Townsville Fire), who are lining up interstate for NBL1 opportunities at Bendigo Braves and Rockhampton Cyclones respectively in 2021, may be able to return home to Newcastle if the Hunters make the East conference.
Olympian and Opals squad member Katie Ebzery and Maddie Allen (Perth Lynx) have been based in WA most recently.
"Many of our best players are plying their trade interstate as a result of NSW not being part of the NBL 1 set up, so hopefully next year that will change," Goffet said.
"We have a lot of very talented players in the WNBL too so we are working on getting this [new] stadium built at Hillsborough so we can showcase that talent in our own backyard."
Maitland's Luke Boyle said the Mustangs have also registered an interest in NBL1 East for 2022.
Waratah League for 2021 tips off April 10 with a local derby between Newcastle and hosts Maitland.
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