The Wollongong Hawks might be in for a long season unless they improve their rebounding.
Taking on the Cairns Taipans in two trials over the weekend, the Hawks were pulverised under the glass, losing 89-72 and 86-64.
"We've got some areas we need to work on obviously, rebounding being the first one," captain Oscar Forman said.
"It was an issue for us all last year and it became very apparent in these two games. We need to keep working on it and address it as quick as we can."
An undermanned Hawks played well for three quarters in Friday's clash, leading by one at half-time and starting the fourth period on level terms.
But they were out-hustled and out-muscled in crunch time.
Saturday night's trial was controlled by the Taipans almost from start to finish.
They built a 44-29 half-time lead and only let the Hawks within nine points during a brief fightback in the fourth quarter.
"Offensively we weren't as smooth as we would've liked. We didn't deal real well with the physicality and took a while to respond to that," Forman said.
"The second game we fought back in the second and third quarters, but the last five minutes was very disappointing in terms of turnovers and letting the margin blow out.
"In both games, the last half of the fourth quarters really slipped away. We felt like we could've done much better."
Wollongong import Rotnei Clarke showed flashes of his potential in both games but didn't settle into a good shooting rhythm.
"He had a few teething issues but he adjusted well throughout the games," Forman said.
"His shot didn't drop as he would've liked and you could see he was a bit frustrated with that, but he fitted in fine and was in sync with everyone on court."
The Hawks will hit the training court with renewed purpose over the next fortnight before heading to Sydney for round two of the NBL Blitz tournament. Wollongong are drawn to play Perth and Melbourne.
The Hawks wrap up their pre-season schedule with games against Sydney on September 27 (Sutherland) and 29 (Wollongong).
"We want to make sure that we're not having the same issues in two weeks.
"We need to keep re-assessing and patching up things, because ultimately all this is to be ready for tip-off against New Zealand."