WARRNAMBOOL Seahawks co-coach Tim Gainey expects marked improvement from his new-look team when it hits the floor for its first Big V home match of the season tonight.
But the experienced forward, who will play his 150th match for the club, cautioned it would take time for the teenage-laden squad to reach its potential.
Warrnambool suffered a 31-point loss to Craigieburn Eagles in its round one game and plays McKinnon Cougars tonight.
“This is pretty much a brand new team. I am the only player from last year who played a lot of minutes,” Gainey said.
“Guys are filling new roles and getting used to each other and our new import is adjusting to the league.
“Being such a young group against men, they weren’t used to the physicality.
“They (Craigieburn) played extremely hard for 40 minutes and had a lot of experience on their team.”
Gainey said American import Brandon Macklin would be better for his first Big V run.
Macklin played 26 minutes for six rebounds and 10 points in round one.
“At the beginning he was in foul trouble as it takes a while to get used to the refs,” Gainey said.
“Once he was in the groove of the game, in the last five minutes he shot eight points.”
Gainey made his Warrnambool debut in 2006 and has missed only a handful of matches on his way to 150 games.
“It is different in America — they never acknowledge 100 games or anything,” he said. “It is good to reach (this milestone). I have been at the club for a while.
“Hopefully we get as many people out there for the game, being our first home game, and hopefully everyone can celebrate my 150th with me.”
Gainey said he never anticipated settling in Warrnambool.
“It was my first trip and I came straight out of university and thought I’d be here for a year or two,” he said.
“But it is such a good town and there are great people, so I’ve stuck around and made a life out of it.”
Gainey said the Seahawks would use next weekend’s Easter break to assess their first two games.
“It will be good to watch the film and see what we have to do better,” he said.
Warrnambool Mermaids start their Big V women’s division two season against Keilor Thunder tonight.
The Katie O’Keefe-led combination had the bye in round one.
The Mermaids’ season tips off at the Arc at 6pm, with the Seahawks’ clash to follow at 8pm.