After a long and intensive build up, the Northland Suns will get their Super City Basketball Competition campaign underway this weekend, when they face the Auckland Rivets.
The Rivets are a class side and with ex Tall Blacks and National Basketball League players such as Simon Nesritz and Mike Townsend in the line-up, they look to be one of the sides to beat, along with North Harbour, in the SCBC, the renamed Conference Basketball League.
Captain Corey Poa said it was a tough game first up but it would be a good measure for the Suns - to see how they would fare against the other national division two teams, after a 12-year hiatus from competition.
"They will be a hard side to beat, being an Auckland team - they are all quite strong down there due to the large player base. We have a young squad but everyone is committed ... we are confident we will play as well as we can and be competitive throughout the season."
At only 22, the former Auckland Star already has stacks of top-level basketball experience. However, this season will be Poa's first time captaining a side -  an opportunity he said he would relish.
"I'm pretty young to be a captain - but I hope to step up to the challenge. It's pretty exciting, and I want to lead the boys on and off the court," the small forward said.
Despite losing 119-95 to Massey in a preseason hit out last month, the relatively inexperienced outfit are feeling confident ahead of their first competition game, which will be held at the New Zealand Breakers Training Facility in Mairangi Bay, on Saturday.
Poa and the rest of the team felt the Suns had done enough work in the months leading up to the 18-week  season to be competitive, despite the odd hiccup.
Recently, the Suns lost head coach Roger Fong to work commitments, however, morale in the team remained high, Northland Suns chief executive Travis McIlroy said.
"Morale is good ... we have been concentrating on game plays and everyone is responding well."
The chief executive said Mata Cameron (Tall Black Pero Cameron's mother) would most likely take over the role as the Suns head coach, but it had not yet been finalised.
"Mata has been helping us out a lot ... she is a very experienced coach and is able to provide different plays and break them down," he said.
The starting five to face Auckland Rivets were named at training on Tuesday, and consisted of Corey Te Tai at point guard, Ethan Penney, McIlroy, Poa and Casey Namana.
Their American import Kashen Cooke of the Harlem Globetrotters will join the rest of his team on July 19 when he arrives from the United States.
The Northland Suns tip off against the Auckland Rivets at 3pm, Saturday.
Northland Suns 2010 squad: Travis McIlroy, Tre Fong, Corey Poa, Justin Friedrich, Tori Bradshaw, Corey Te Tai, Josh Martinac, Jason Edwards, Beau Mackey, Arahi O'Donnell, Atama O'Donnell, Kane Rudolph, Casey Namana, Jayde Hepi, Ethan Penney, Joseph Mulhern, Kashen Cooke.