Veteran forward Jack Preston was left feeling frustrated after Team Northumbria’s defeat by Hemel Storm rocked the reigning Division One champions.
Heading into the second half, TN were down 17 points, a deficit that proved too wide a margin for the home side as they lost 89-66.
And after last season’s success, Preston made it clear that TN have to improve – as the team every side wants to beat.
“We have to realise that after last year’s success we have a target on our back,” said Preston.
“Winning the league and the cup last year means that this year we’re going to get every team’s best shot.
“We need to be mentally and physically ready.
“There are a few things that we need to work on as a group but it’s important now that we use this loss as a tool to move forward for what will be a long season.”
While Preston was frustrated by the loss, he was adamant that TN have both the players and the mentality to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointment.
“If I’m being honest I don’t ever think going into a game this group is going to lose,” said Preston.
“That’s just an example of the confidence we have as a team. Credit to Hemel, they played a really good game.
“But what’s important now is that we bounce back.
“We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, which means fighting game in, game out. No one is going to hand us wins
“I don’t think we gave a particularly good account of ourselves. But it is a competitive league and it’s a long season.
“It’s not panic stations and I genuinely believe that if we live and breathe our culture things will turn around.”
And looking forward to the future, Preston was left feeling excited after this week’s BBL Trophy first round draw which saw TN drawn against BBL heavyweight’s Worcester Wolves, a tie that Preston admitted he was relishing.
“As a group we don’t fear anyone,” said Preston.
“We want to win every game we go out and play.
“We’ve got a great confidence amongst the group.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to compete against Worcester.
“We’ve got a chance to compete against a BBL team so it’s a really exciting opportunity to show where we’re at and make sure we give a good account of ourselves.”
Report by Oscar Haley