IN professional sport it's always wise to expect the unexpected and it's fair to say the last month has been a pretty big lesson in that.
It wasn't that long ago that playing Perth twice on the road was the toughest thing we were going to deal with this preseason, but it was a walk in the park compared to what we've gone through since Christmas.
As professional athletes, you're always living out of a suitcase to some degree, but it's literally the case for us at the moment. There was one day we were waiting for the premier's 11am address and we were supposed to leave at 11.30. It's been that sort of timeline. We weren't sure where we were going to end up, we just got told 'pack up your stuff we're leaving for three months'.
Obviously no one expected the pandemic to flare again the way it has so close to the start of the season, but the pandemic has been a fact of life for a while now and we've all been adapting to changing circumstances to some degree well before this.
Albury was great for us, we stayed at Quest Apartments, we had little kitchenettes and it was fairly self-contained and let us live as close to a normal life as we could. The Scots School has been a great base. The courts were great, there's a pool we could use and the gym was fantastic.
We had some more uncertainty when cases emerged in Melbourne. It looked like we were heading to Tasmania, but it's worked out for the best in being able to stay in Albury and use it as a boot camp to springboard into the season.
We arrived in Cairns on Sunday night and, while it's been anything but a normal build-up, taking on Brisbane in our first game feels like any other season-opener on the road. We'd obviously been preparing to take on the Taipans first up but we've just got adapt and try to turn all the negatives into positives where we can.
Goorj has been massive in that regard and he's got us in a really good spot to start the season. What's striking about Goorj is how down to earth he is. We're all well aware of what he's achieved and how much of a giant figure he is in Australian basketball, but you probably wouldn't know it if you saw how he is around the group.
He's in the weight room every session loading and unloading weights for us, he's filling up the water bottles, he's putting protein in the protein shakers, he doesn't see himself as being above any role. On the flip-side of that, his attention to minute detail as a coach is like nothing I've ever experienced before.
If you're one step left, or one step right, he'll stop everything and explain what he wants and why. Nothing's left to chance and he's got high standards that he expects us all to meet. If we do, I'm super confident we can give this competition a real shake.
Not a lot of people out there have rated us very highly but, having played for this club for six years, that's certainly nothing new. I've been part of teams that have had great success, and teams that have struggled, but that's the one thing that's always stayed the same.
What I can say after playing for the club as long as I have is this is the most talented group I've been a part of. When it comes to pure athleticism, our ability to shoot the ball, the speed we play at, our depth, I don't think we've ever had such an arsenal from top to bottom.
I've had some interesting conversations with people about how this team would go against, say, the team we had in Wollongong in my first year with Kirk Penney and Kevin Lisch or our grand final team.
It's fun to talk about, but it's hypothetical. That's all we have with this team at the moment and Goorj has been big on reminding us that we haven't achieved anything and we all have a point to prove.
More than anything else, we're all just pumped and excited to get out their on the floor. It's been 11 months without a game, so we're all chomping at the bit to get out there and play.