He wouldn't be coaxed into making chest-beating predictions but Sydney coach Shane Heal is quietly plotting an ambush of the Hawks tomorrow night at WIN Entertainment Centre.
The Kings lost their three best players from last season - Jerai Grant, Julian Khazzouh and Anatoly Bose - and have been widely tipped to finish last in 2012-13.
That doesn't bother Heal.
The four-time Olympian has heard all the pre-season forecasts and reckons his side will silence the doubters.
"We don't mind the fact everybody has written us off and we're tailed off last as far as everybody's expectations outside of our group. That's not a bad thing for us," Heal said.
"It's not an easy start but it's a great challenge for us and we've got a great mindset where we're looking forward to these sorts of challenges.
"We certainly come down to Wollongong with the confidence that we've done the work.
"We know we're the underdog and we'll certainly be in there with the mindset that we're coming to win the game."
Sydney had Wollongong's measure in three of four meetings last season. The Hawks beat the Kings in Sydney on the final weekend of the regular season and also accounted for their big-city rivals in a trial in August.
Of their 11 pre-season games, Wollongong won nine.
"They've been great in the preseason," Heal said.
"I guess when you've been running the same system and you've got the same players and everyone's comfortable with one another, they could roll the ball out at the start of the season because it's the same stuff.
"(Coach) Gordie's (McLeod) added a lot more talent as far as his imported players, and when you mix that with the stability of their Australians, that's why their form's so good and I think they'll have a really good season.
"This week's game is better for Wollongong than it is us as far as getting a big crowd to start the season, but for us it's more about what we're doing and taking the next step and continuing to improve every week."
Sydney signed two new imports in the off-season and recruited Australian veterans James Harvey and Ian Crosswhite.
"Everybody's new for us really, so we're learning a new philosophy and there's no doubt it's taken time, but it's been a really good preseason," Heal said.
"Obviously Jules and Bose were massive losses for us, but I'm really happy with the way the guys have settled in and the roles they're playing.
"They get along really well, we're extremely fit and we're confident of where we're at.
"I don't think there's any team in the league we can't beat, but we also know if we don't play well that you don't beat any team in this league either."