The Breakers are coming off winning the last three NBL championships and despite losing the coach of those three titles, Andrej Lemanis, and last season's league MVP Cedric Jackson, there is nothing to suggest New Zealand don’t deserve to be favourites once again this season.
New Zealand still possesses Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, CJ Bruton, Alex Pledger, Daryl Corletto and Corey Webster while the big man stocks have been improved with the arrival of import Darnell Lazare.
Even though Wollongong did start well opening up an early 17-9 advantage less than five minutes into the contest, New Zealand's championship stars Corletto, Vukona and Bruton all got the home team back into the contest.
The Hawks still narrowly led by two points at quarter-time, but the Breakers assumed the lead early in the second period and never again surrendered that advantage eventually winning by a comfortable 19 points in front of just over 6000 fans.
All eyes this season will be on the way that import point guard Kerron Johnson can pick up from the efforts of Jackson, but he showed enough encouraging signs that he will be a good pick up in Thursday's season-opening 19-point win over the Hawks at Auckland's Vector Arena.
The Breakers shot the lights out at Vector Arena going a superb 12-of-24 from three-point range and 36-of-72 from the field overall while the Hawks struggled to 26-of-68 from the field and 4-of-17 from long range.
Corletto was the best proponent of the long ball nailing four of his five attempts on his way to 19 points and four assists for the night. Abercrombie also put together a strong game with 19 points, three rebounds and two blocks.
Johnson finished with 14 points and five assists, and no turnovers, while Vukona had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Webster 14 points with five assists.
Even though New Zealand won last season's NBL championship, it actually lost its home opener at Vector Arena to the Perth Wildcats so this is a step up from that, but it's also the Breakers' 17th straight victory at home because they have not lost since Round 1 last year.
While the 19-point defeat isn’t the ideal way for the Hawks to open their campaign, trying to win in New Zealand was never going to easy and Wollongong did receive a blow a week ago when import Durrell Summers walked out simply because his agent told him he'd be making more money.
So Wollongong will still improve further when a second import arrives and given there's no tougher challenge than trying to beat the Breakers across the ditch, the Hawks will be confident of bouncing back quickly.
Their one import, Rotnei Clarke, was impressive though particularly in the first half as the Hawks got off to a hot start before Corletto inspired the Breakers with 16 first half point to take control of the contest.
Clarke ended the night for the Hawks with a game-high 20 points and six rebounds with Dave Gruber and Larry Davidson adding 12 points apiece. Davidson also had 11 rebounds while Tyson Demos had eight points and six boards.
Round 1 of the 2013/14 NBL season continues on Friday night when last year's runners-up the Perth Wildcats host the wooden spooners of last year the Adelaide 36ers while it's a Reptile Rumble in Townsville on Saturday night between the Crocs and the Cairns Taipans.
The opening round then concludes on Sunday when the Sydney Kings host the Melbourne Tigers at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.