This time last year the Wollongong Hawks were unbeaten and sharing top spot.
That's in contrast to this season, with Wollongong in last place after losing their opening two games.
No-one at the club is panicking, but the Hawks can't afford a third loss on Saturday against Townsville.
"There's a couple of weeks of feeling-out period at the beginning of the year, and the teams that get that chemistry going early are the ones that get on the front foot for the rest of the year," Hawks forward Dave Gruber said.
"The season's a marathon, not a sprint, and the coaches do a great job of keeping us on an even keel - not too up, not too down.
"There's not a lot between all the teams one through eight, so on any given night, anything can happen."
After a 19-point loss to title holders New Zealand, the Hawks produced a much better performance in a 97-91 road loss to Adelaide last Saturday.
They lost five players from last season's squad, including club legend Glen Saville, and should grow as a team as the season progresses.
"With this new group, we'll keep fighting and keep addressing areas and move forward," Gruber said.
"We have the core guys, but every season there's some new guys and it's important to get them up to speed. Getting that chemistry and cohesion is obviously important and that's just going to take some time for everybody. We're getting there."