Dennis up for draw chal­lenge

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - ROHAN O'NEIL rohan. o'neil@ news. com. au

T OWNSVIL L E C r o c o d i l e s coach Shawn Dennis re­fuses to be daunted by a tough draw to the 2015/ 16 NBL sea­son that will see his club play five of their first six games away from home.

The Crocs will open up their cam­paign with a block­buster home fix­ture at the Swamp against Todd Blanch­field and his new club Mel­bourne United on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 9, be­fore go­ing on the road for five games straight.

De­spite a tough sched­ule to start the sea­son, Dennis said he wasn’t dwelling on it and would in­stead hit the ground run­ning with as­sis­tant coaches Sam Gruggen and Greg Van­der­jagt to pre­pare for the rigours of the 28- game sea­son.

“It’s very chal­leng­ing to be hon­est but I don’t get bogged down by it and I am far more con­cerned with the on- the­court stuff,” he said.

“Of course, it presents some chal­lenges to have five games in a row on the road early in the sea­son but most of the teams aren’t at their peak early on so it could be a pos­i­tive for us and that’s the way we will treat it.”

The NBL re­leased its newlook draw yesterday af­ter­noon, which sees games played from Wed­nes­day to Sun­day ev­ery week, and Townsville fans will have to learn to em- brace mid­week bas­ket­ball with nine of the fran­chise’s 14 home games on a Wed­nes­day or Thurs­day night. Townsville will play four home fix­tures on Wed­nes­day night and five on Thurs­day to go with the sea­son opener on Fri­day night and three Satur­day games.

The slat­ing of games five game nights per week is geared at help­ing the league se­cur­ing a much- needed broad­cast deal and Dennis wasn’t con­cerned with how the new- look sched­ule would af­fect his team’s prepa­ra­tion and play.

“Once the sea­son starts, our play­ers are ba­si­cally full time any­way and for us coach­ing staff, it’s just about ad­just­ing train­ing days and mak­ing sure that ev­ery­one is fresh,” he said.

“We … will sit down over the next four to five days, map out the pro­gram for the sea­son and make sure we are pre­pared as best as pos­si­ble.”

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