Shepparton Gators’ new look side will be on show in the region for the first time today, as Leigh Bathman prepares his team for its Big V opener in two week’s time.
The Gators have two practice matches today against quality opposition as part of the club’s family day at Shepparton Sports Stadium.
At 11am, the side plays Wagga Wagga from the Waratah Basketball League.
The match is a chance to send out American imports Cameron Vines and Spencer Coleman, as well as Bendigo Braves recruit Jake Cowling.
Star guard Matt Bartlett may see limited game time as he comes back from an ankle injury with Tyrone Mohamed to feature in the afternoon match.
The Gators will be tested against state championship side Hawthorn Magic in the second match, with the powerful metro side returning for another practice match tomorrow at noon.
Shepparton has already showed its winning ways this season defeating Whittlesea 84-68 during a practice match last week.
But Bathman said there is plenty more he wants on show across the weekend.
‘‘We want to show more team chemistry, it’s a long process that will take all season and we wouldn’t expect to be anywhere near (full team cohesion) until mid-season,’’ he said.
‘‘Last year we played too much individual basketball at times and this year we want to make sure the guys are playing for each other and for the right reason and are good team mates.’’
With roster changes nearly in the double figures, Bathman is looking forward to introducing the team to its fans.
‘‘It’s the first time we’ve had a family day ... between the games we’ll put on a bit of a barbecue and try to introduce people — after so many roster changes — so we can promote the new imports, recruits and the juniors that are new faces to the program,’’ he said.
Shepparton Gators’ first practice match is at 11am against Wagga Wagga at Shepparton Sports Stadium today.
The match is followed by a game against Hawthorn from 4pm. Between matches, people can take photos of and have autographs signed by players.