DRAWCARD: Ray Willis will be a crowd favourite tonight.
DRAWCARD: Ray Willis will be a crowd favourite tonight. Mike Richards GLA230716MBAL

Power juniors impressive

BASKETBALL: McDonalds Gladstone Port City Power coach Blair Smith is under no illusions what the Mackay Meteors will present in tonight's QBL season opener at Kev Broome Stadium.

Blair Smith full interview:


But his players will be up for the challenge against a Meteors side which boasts current and former NBL players such as Chris Cedar and Shaun Bruce.

"It's definitely a big challenge the first game and they have got some good SEABLE players sitting on the bench, and they are probably the team to beat this year," Smith said.

Power men:

The first game of the season is usually when teams can get undone and that's exactly what Smith wants to happen.

And can happen.

"We're a good chance to get them early though," Smith said.

"One thing you know, Lucas Walker has only been there for a week and I guess that they haven't had the opportunity to gel yet," he said.

The Power have lost all three trial matches - twice against Rockhampton and the other against the Sunshine Coast - but Smith is not concerned.

"I wasn't worried about the scoreboard and we were trying to execute and looking at different combinations," Smith said.

"The juniors played a lot of minutes just so we could see what they could do.

"I know what the other guys can do."

However, Smith said he was disappointed with the final trial because the defensive intensity was not where it could be.

"Since then we watched the tape in the training sessions and the last two trainings have been very physical and intense," Smith said.

"If we can have that intensity at the game tonight then good things can happen for sure."

Smith said the likely starting five tonight will be Remy Lawyer, Josh Walters, Ray Willis, Tyler Allen and Willie Shackleford.

Imports Nathan Musters and Patrick Ciganovic are still committed in their respective clubs overseas and should join their new club early next month.

"We don't have the big guys yet so at the moment we are undersized so we will just try and use our speed," Smith said.

Quelling the impact of Bruce is key to the outcome tonight and Lawyer will be assigned that duty.

But a team effort is required to assist Lawyer.

"I want to throw a lot of bodies at Shaun and try and defend him and wear him down," Smith said.

"You have got a quality NBL starting point guard that we're playing against and have got to try and get the ball out of his hands."

Smith hinted that the Power's young brigade of Mitch Knight, Botond Hajos and Lachlan Wilmot may get minutes in the big time.

"I have been really impressed with Lachy and Scott Russell," Smith said.

"His defensive intensity and his willingness to do whatever."

The other Power youngsters who will be pushing for minutes at some stage throughout the year include Declan King (injured), Jace Arnold and Samuel Jenkins.