Sharks coach warns against complacency
Expect the word complacency to take centre stage when Sharks coach Paul Henare sits down tomorrow night with the 2014 Southland Sharks squad to map out some goals and expectations.
Henare admits to fearing second season complacency and wants his team to work even harder than they did 12 months ago en route to the organisation's first ever National Basketball League title.
The Sharks on Friday night will open their 2014 National Basketball League campaign against the Otago Nuggets at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.
The Southland side was the surprise package last year when they emerged as national champions despite being written off by many at the start of last season.
The task in front of them is to repeat those heroics with much more expectation hanging over them this time around.
"External expectations on us wern't that great last year but I guess internally I know myself and the rest of the team were always striving to do what we did," Henare said yesterday.
"It's understandable that we were labelled as that sort of surprise package and with the majority of the team coming back this year obviously we're not going to be sneaking up on anyone, if anything we're going to have a big target on our backs."
It's a situation that has Henare on edge as he eyes his second season in the role of Sharks coach.
"I'm not accusing anyone at this at the club but what I'm a little bit scared of is complacency, it was such a great year and a great way to finish the year obviously, but I want guys to be even more hungry.
I've spoken to a couple of individuals about where they want to be and where they want to finish up this season and hopefully everybody has got that same sort of motivation because winning one is great and hard but winning another one is even tougher."
After an intense and challenging campaign with the Breakers as their assistant coach Henare yesterday returned to Invercargill to link up with the Sharks squad days out from the competition opener on Friday night.
American import Brian Conklin also arrived yesterday leaving only Reuben Te Rangi to join the squad. The teenage Breakers star will arrive in Invercargill tomorrow.
The team had an open training session last night and Henare was confident that despite the limited buildup they would be ready to go come Friday night.
Part of that confidence was in the fact they have retained the bulk of the championship-winning team for this season.
"Most of the guys will tell you, especially the ones that have been around a while, that you don't often have the same team. There's usually many adjustments," he said.
"Part of the reason I wanted to [keep the same team] is because of my commitments with the Breakers being out of town and not being able to stamp my mark if I had a lot of changes. One of the advantages of having the same group is hopefully we won't have to go through so many teething issues."
The Southland Times