It's great to see the Manawatu Jets return to the NBL fold but having eight teams will pose problems this season, according to Zico Coronel.

"That's because eight is not very divisible with 18 games but when there were seven teams it was easier because you played every team [an even number of times]," says new Hawks coach Coronel but he is mindful the ramifications will become clearer during the season.

The other issue is of discrepancy in the strength of sides because traditionally mediocre franchises have the ability to bolster their rosters so he believes easy/tough draws will become apparent as the season transpires.

"There'll still be little inaccuracies and we're not going to know 100 per cent until the season plays out," he says as the Hawks signal the start of the season in tipping off at 7pm against the Southland Sharks in Napier on Thursday, April 26.


Coronel feels the Hawks' misfortune in nine home games is in playing two double headers at the PG Arena immediately after a road game so in many respects they have seven home games and 11 on the road.

They play defending champions Wellington Saints three times and only once in Napier and have three double headers and once on the road.

"The draw is going to be a great challenge for us, possibly more than other teams, so we'll just have to allow that to build our resolve and force us to have even better habits and chemistry to overcome challenges."

Qualifying for the final four playoffs from August 3-5 will become harder but, he says, it will also mean the Hawks will be better prepared.

People work graveyard shifts in hospitals, the fire service and the military, says Coronel, but asking the basketballers to play should be a privilege.

He reflects on watching a memorable Aussie Open tennis match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to personify the sort of greatness required in NBL games.