Coffs Harbour’s mens Waratah League team needs to get a win tonight in Port Macquarie.
Coffs Harbour’s mens Waratah League team needs to get a win tonight in Port Macquarie. TARUM IMAGES

Men and youth chasing wins

COFFS Harbour’s youth league basketball team gets its season under way tomorrow when it faces one of the powerful Central Coast combinations at Sportz Central.

After a season of mixed fortunes last year when the young men were finding their feet in the inaugural season at State League level, development manager and men’s team coach Matt Shanahan says the youth team is ready to take a big step forward in 2011.

“The boys lost a few games last year that they probably should have won,” Shanahan said.

“With a year of experience under the belt of some of the players the team should be able to get the win when they find themselves leading late in a game.”

The Suns’ younger representative team needs to get its season off to a strong start as a quirk in the draw sees the local team playing seven of its first eight matches at home.

Early wins on the board will be crucial as the Suns will enjoy playing at home only twice in the final 10 matches.

Shanahan says there is plenty of on-court talent to create a winning environment.

“They’re shaping up really well,” he said.

“They’ve developed really well over the summer and there’s actually a few players in the youth team who have been pushing for a spot in the men’s team.

“That’s meant there’s been some healthy competition around the club, which is good.”

Shanahan’s thoughts tonight will be dominated by the away fixture the men’s team faces against Port Macquarie.

After securing a win and a loss in last week’s opening weekend of the Waratah League, the coach says tonight’s clash will be a real challenge for his team to ensure it stays on the positive side of the win-loss ledger.

“They (Port Macquarie) were a top four team last year and they’re a good, physical team,” he said.

Fighting an injury list that has left the Suns outfit below full strength, the coach is hoping his men can do enough early in the season to make sure it doesn’t fall behind the rest of the teams in the northern division.

“We were one and one last weekend so a win this weekend would get to get us on a winning track,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard with a few players missing but I’m sure we can do it.

“We just need to scrape through and keep getting some wins before the guys that are missing come back.”

One thing in the Suns’ favour is the fact Shanahan believes last week’s close loss to Tamworth while playing with an undermanned team is a pointer that the team is on the right track for another strong season.

“Tamworth were probably better than any team we played against last year,” he said.

“They’ve recruited very strongly and for us to almost get the win with a few players missing was a good effort so things are looking good for the season to come.

“We’re already looking forward to playing them again later this season when we’ve got all of our players back on deck.”

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