The West

Stability the key to Wildcats title hopes
Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge. Picture: Getty Images.

Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge believes roster stability will play a greater role than big-name recruits in deciding the fate of this season’s NBL championship.

Several teams have already benefitted from the demise of Gold Coast Blaze, snapping up freshly available talent to bolster their rosters, while others have looked overseas to add extra spark.

But the Wildcats opted to retain nearly all of their players over the off-season, most of whom are entering their fourth season together in Perth.

Everard Bartlett is the only current Wildcat not to have featured on the club’s fulltime roster last season.

But he spent most of the last two years as part of Beveridge’s extended training squad and played a handful of games as a replacement when point-guard Damian Martin went down with a foot injury.

Beveridge pointed to the recent success of the Wildcats and reigning champions New Zealand as proof stability was crucial.

“It’s been proven in the majority of sports that when you’ve got stability... that’s where success happens,” Beveridge said.

“Us and New Zealand have had the most stable teams for the past few years and other teams keep chopping and changing. I think that’s where we have the team cohesion and the chemistry.

“We have the focus of our players and they are so hungry. I can see it in their eyes – it’s unfinished business from last season.

“Other teams, yep, perhaps they’ve loaded up, but right now we know what direction we’re going.”

Adelaide undoubtedly profited most from Gold Coast going under, pouncing on Adam Gibson, Anthony Petrie and Jason Cadee to transform their squad from also-rans to potential play-off contenders.

Melbourne signed exciting guard Chris Goulding, New Zealand lured American big man Will Hudson to Auckland and James Harvey moved back to Sydney.

“Some teams have benefitted from Gold Coast folding, so they are better,” Beveridge said.

“But as far as I’m concerned, I know that we’re going to be better as well.”

Beveridge has set about adding to his coaching and support staff in a bid to find the “one percenters” that will take the Wildcats a step further than last season’s heartbreaking grand final defeat to the Breakers.

New full-time strength and conditioning coach Will Marwick put the majority of the senior and development squads through their paces during the club’s first official pre-season training run at the WA Basketball Centre today.

Co-captain Brad Robbins took part in fitness drills despite nursing his troublesome right wrist following surgery this month, while Cameron Tovey sat out with a minor back complaint.

Greg Hire is out hospital after undergoing treatment for an infected finger but was forced to watch on from the sidelines.

Hire was in good spirits but will miss Wanneroo’s must-win State Basketball League semifinal games against East Perth this week.

The next course of action in his rehabilitation program will be determined in the next few days.

The West Australian

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