THE Queanbeyan Yowies men's basketball team kicks off its New South Wales Waratah State League campaign this Saturday when it travels to Bathurst to take on the Goldminers.
Yowies captain Adam Jackson believes his men have endured one of their best pre-seasons ever, with a full squad of 13 men committing to the team, and having started pre-season training before Christmas.
The Yowies had an average performance last season, finishing fourth out of six in their pool to miss the finals by two places.
Under the State League pooling system, the top two teams of each pool progress to the finals.
Jackson said he was very confident heading into his side's first game in Bathurst, where the Yowies should be favourites considering the Goldminers won just a single match last season.
"Last year we were probably the smallest team in the competition, and this year we'd be one of the largest teams by a fair way...just the quality of players we've had come into the squad is great," said Jackson.
The Yowies will also be boosted by new coach Gary Ball, who will stabalise the team's training and tactical regime in that they have not had a permanent coach for some time.
They will also be boosted by the inclusion of former Wollongong Hawks NBL squad fringe player Talor Goodall.
"We're actually getting quality height which will go a long way," said Jackson.
"We've also got another young big guy called Sam Burton who's come across."
"We've had a great lead-up to the start of this season, and we actually have a coach, and that's really helped that...and our sessions have been a lot better."
Jackson said his men could realistically make the finals this year.
The last time they did was four years ago.
Meanwhile, The Queanbeyan Age understands the women's Yowies side will be able to begin their State League campaign on April 12 at home against Wagga Wagga.
While this is unconfirmed, Yowies president Jan Browne said the women's side will undergo ongoing fundraising throughout the season to keep them alive, after no sponsors had come on board as of two weeks ago.
It is believed this is still the case, with the team scheduled to play their first game in Bathurst this weekend but not able to make that trip.
Jackson was confident the women would play along side his men next weekend.