Former Hawks star Gary Ervin won't receive any special treatment when he returns to Wollongong for the first time since leaving the club.
Recruited by Townsville a fortnight ago, Ervin and his Crocodiles teammates will be aiming to inflict Wollongong's first loss of the season in this Sunday's third-round battle at WIN Entertainment Centre.
The 2011 NBL MVP was popular with fans during his one-year stint with the Hawks and can expect a warm welcome when his name is called during pre-game introductions.
But the Hawks aren't getting all warm and fuzzy about a reunion with the 180cm guard.
Ervin is key to a Crocs victory and they don't want to hand him a triumphant homecoming.
"A lot of people who saw him play when he was with us will come out to watch him at his old stomping ground, and he'll definitely come down here looking to knock us off," hardnosed Wollongong forward Dave Gruber said.
"Gary was an exciting player in our league and a former MVP, so he certainly has the skills to make Townsville a different team and change their dynamics. We'll just have to adjust our game plan for him and the coaches have always done a great job of that, so we're looking forward to it."
The Hawks boosted their record to 2-0 with last Friday's 68-58 defeat of the Cairns Taipans.
Gruber didn't score any points but grabbed a valuable eight rebounds in 17 minutes of court time.
After having five players score in double figures in the previous week's win over Sydney, Wollongong had four in double digits against the Taipans and a fifth on nine points.
"It's always good to get a win up in Cairns. They've been a bit of a thorn on our side the last couple of years," Gruber said.
"We had different contributions everywhere and some guys made some big-time plays down the stretch.
"We did a pretty good job of taking their crowd out of it in the first half, but they were very vocal in the second half when they made their run, so it was good that we kept our composure and made some plays down the stretch to seal it.
"The biggest thing is that our group has definitely come together. Obviously we had the same core group of guys and I think we're farther along than most teams at this point.
"If we can get a couple of wins early while these other teams are sort of feeling themselves out, hopefully it'll put us in good stead towards the end of the year. The encouraging sign is that we've got a lot of room to improve."
Winning at home is one thing, but the Hawks understand they have to beat teams in their own venues to emerge as a genuine title contender.
"It's huge to have a win in our first road game," Gruber said.
"You have to take care of business at home but any wins you can get on the road are great, especially early. Given the amount of scouting that teams will do, winning on the road will just get harder throughout the year.
"You enjoy the win and as soon as you get back home it's back to work. We'll talk about Townsville's strengths and they'll be a different team to last year with their imports, but we'll draw up a game plan and get after it."