BACK-to-back road trips to open up the season will be the perfect way for the Ballarat Rush to bond as a team as its returns to court in the first match for premiership points in 18 months.
A trip to face the Albury-Wodonga bandits followed by a double-header trip to Tasmania in round two will allow the teams to gel both on and off the court according to Alicia Froling.
She said while early wins are always important in any season, the two road trips will also give the new-look, import-free squad a chance to bond as a group.
"Early road trip wins are important, it's both a positive and a negative to get the road trips early, but this allows us to gel as a team," she said.
"The off-court stuff is important too, hopefully it can turn into a positive for us."
An impressive first outing in the squads only practice match last week against Mount Gambier has Froling confident of a good opening round showing.
"I think we did really well," she said.
"Obviously we're still coming together but we started to play well as a team, our offence started to form a little bit more than it had in previous weeks.
"It was a positive step for us, which makes us look forward to this weekend."
Froling said the first match of any season was always tough as you never knew what to expect from the opposition. This year is particularly hard as a lack of imports and a lack of practice matches makes it the great unknown.
"We have what we have and we will roll with that," she said.
"The mentality in the team has been the next person stepping up, sometimes we find we're a bit short handed, but I think we're okay with that and we are ready to play hard.
"Every team is in the same boat, so we just need to read the play and do what we do.
We just want to get back into basketball, getting through our offences, we're an aggressive team that can run, let's focus on that."
She said the Albury-Wodonga roster would be in a similar position
"I think we know a little bit about our opposition, but there's a lot of questions about having players and whether they have been allowed to get into the country or not," she said.
"It's definitely a lot more open than it has been in previous years, again every team is now in that situation.
"You've got to be prepared for anything which is why we've just got to focus on ourselves at the moment. We don't know their roster so we'll see how it goes."
The match against the Albury-Wodonda Bandits will be played at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre at 6pm on Saturday night. In round 2, the Rush plays against Hobart Chargers and Launceston Tornoadoes.