Coach Ray has plenty of hope
BASKETBALL: Ray Cooper expects his young Gladstone Power women's team to hit the home court running tonight against Mackay Meteorettes.
If training form is anything to go by, then the Power will get the job done against what will be a formidable first-round opponent.
"Most of the women have just finished their seasons elsewhere or have been doing a lot fitness and individual workouts in their own time leading into the season," Power coach Cooper said.
"A few early mornings stimulating game like shots and moves and we have had a couple of really good training sessions.
"They have been) very high energy with the girls working hard and communicating well while also setting the standard high to start our season off."
Cooper is confident the loss of key play-maker Maddy Willey will be covered.
"New recruits Kayla Kiriau and Chloe Palmer will both bring different styles which will help, so depending on what the team requires at the time we will see both of them sharing the role," Cooper said.
Local product Kiah Guinea showed great signs last season and Cooper is expecting the youngster to step up more.
"I definitely want to see Kiah progress further into her role," Cooper said.
"She has been improving each year which is great to see from one of our local girls.
"Kiah normally doesn't have to be the one that fills up a stat sheet, but what she does for the team is perfect and it's what we need from her.
"Kiah is smart enough to choose the right shots or give the ball to one of her team-mates when required and works continuously on defence."
While skill is a no-brainer at this semi-professional level, Cooper said there are other aspects that has been the focus over the summer months.
"We have focused on our communication and just making sure everyone is on the same page on and off the court," Cooper said.
"Ball movement and also moving without the ball has been another area as well."
When the astute mentor was asked which player will be an X-factor, he simply replied it's a team effort.
"I believe the whole team will be the X-factor coming into the season," Cooper said.
"A new team put together that not many know about is a good thing and all the girls can't wait to get on the court in front of their home crowd and show what they can do."
Veteran Char Mellars is undecided if she is to play and Cooper is not sure as well.
But with the players Coop[er has at his disposal, he has total belief.
"As the women come together and start to gel more, the edge will be being united and playing hard for each other," Cooper said.
Emily Kirkwood is another local who may be given minutes while Sarah Pickering is another welcome addition to the team from Rockhampton.
Game times are from 6pm (women) followed by the men's blockbuster at 8pm.