Otago Daily Times

Changed squad aims high


THE squad is relatively new.

Expectatio­ns are very much the same from the Otago Gold Rush, though.

Plenty of experience is gone and seven of its 13player squad were not there last year.

But as it begins its NBL season on Monday, against the Harbour Breeze in Auckland, it is not lowering its standards.

Each team has just five games in the revamped league.

To make the semifinals it needs to make the top four.

That leaves little room for error and putting on a strong showing straight away was going to be its focus.

‘‘You’ve got five games and then you’re into playoffs,’’ coach Gavin Briggs said.

‘‘We want to go out there and be competitiv­e in every single game and we’re absolutely striving to make the playoffs.

‘‘There will be developmen­t, there always is when you’ve got new faces coming in with experience­d players.

‘‘But it’s a sprint, one game is done and into the next one, it’s done.’’

Its most potent threats are in its forward lineup and that is where it boasts most of its experience.

Zoe Richards will be pivotal, the Tall Fern being the side’s primary scoring threat both inside and outside.

Former Tall Fern Lisa Wallbutton is classy inside, while Bronwyn Kjestrup also brings a useful allround game at both ends.

How the guard lineup goes will be important.

It is a young group, although there is plenty of potential.

Tara Clement and Te Araroa Sopoaga both join the side for the first time, both coming off standout seasons in the Dunedin club season, while Olivia O’Neill will be key as well.

 ??  ?? Gavin Briggs
Gavin Briggs

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand