Paul Henare wary of competition new boys
It's a game the Southland Sharks should win, but new coach Paul Henare is not all that comfortable with that talk.
The Zero Fees-sponsored Southland National Basketball League franchise will open their 2013 campaign tonight in Invercargill when they take on new team the Super City Rangers - based out of Waitakere in Auckland.
The organisation had made noises about entering the competition in 2014 but when the Harbour Heat pulled the plug on the 2013 season it left Auckland without any representation, so Waitakere stepped in a year earlier.
On paper Southland will have more experience and quality tonight, but it's the fact that a lot of people have written off the newbies to the competition which concerns Henare.
"They're a new team, I think there's three players that have had a little bit less than significant time in the NBL. So they're an unknown quantity, but seeing a little bit of them in preseason in Wellington, and talking to the coaches that have gone up against them, the common thing is that they play hard.
"They don't have high expectations, and I don't think they have high expectations externally, so they've got no pressure on them.
"They're going to come out and play hard, fight, scrap, they dive on loose ball, they play with confidence because they haven't got that sort of pressure of expectation on their shoulders," Henare said.
Henare said his team weren't in a position where they should be overly confident heading into tonight's game given their pre-season buildup where they've lost all four games.
"I don't think there will be any false hope from us because of the results we've had in the preseason. But the good thing about losing every game is you don't get cocky and you don't get complacent, if anything you come out with a chip on your shoulder and hopefully we've got that."
Tonight's game will start at 7pm with Sharks general manager Jill Bolger hopeful of a crowd upwards of 1500 for their opening fixture.
Tomorrow the Sharks will fly to Napier, where on Sunday they will take on Henare's old team Hawke's Bay in what will be their second fixture in three days.
The Southland Times