It’s a new era and regime tipping off in the Vertu Motors Arena tonight for the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles Women’s Basketball League side.
The visit of powerhouse London Lions who have swept the domestic board in the last two seasons is the toughest start new Head Coach Matt Newby could have for his first game in his new role.
With just over 48 hours in the job and only one training session behind him it would of course be unfair to expect a ‘new coach’ lift against such formidable opposition but it’s fair to say that Newby is still looking forward to the occasion and coaching in the League.
“The Women’s British Basketball League is evolving and the reality is that teams have to keep pace with it and you can only keep pace with it if you’re on the floor working hard and that’s what we intend to do.”
Newby held his first training session on Thursday night and his players made a favourable first impression on him as he explains.
“They’re a great group and they worked very, very hard for me. It was an intense session. I think there’s a little bit to do in terms of developing an identity. We can only do that with time and patience and showing due diligence.”
Words and thoughts delivered in a manner that indicates Newcastle have made a shrewd appointment indeed as he contemplates taking on The Lions in his first game in charge.
“The Lions on both fronts, the Women’s and Men’s Leagues set a different pace in terms of investment and the direction they want to go. You have to try to keep pace with that. No necessarily match that pace but you’ve got to keep pace with it.”
“Framing things honestly they are a very strong roster and a very strong coaching roster but what’s not to like for a first game. I wouldn’t call it a free-hit or a free role of the dice but it’s an opportunity to see how we are and where we stand at this point in time.”
“it’s an opportunity to test ourselves against what is arguably the best unit in the league at this moment in time such is their depth and strength. As a coach I’m going to get a very honest assessment of who we are and what we need to work on.”
“My expectations are simple. Let’s focus on the non-negotiables. Effort and work rate and a strong attempt at tempering what will be a powerful unit. Try to match the physicality at both ends of the floor and see what the outcome will be.”
Newby is also through his coaching tenure at Leeds Force and Worcester Wolves in the Men’s British Basketball League well aware of the Newcastle Eagles fanbase and had this to say about the home crowd.
“I’ve been on the other end of the Eagles crowd up to now and it was always enjoyable. There’s a strong atmosphere, knowledgeable fans who are passionate and have a desire for their hometown team to do great things.”
“it’s fantastic that is reflected in the Women’s game at this Club. There’s not enough of that in our game at the moment so I’m looking forward to meeting and seeing them in action from the right side of the side lines on Saturday.”
The game at The Vertu Motors Arena tips-off at 7:30 pm and will be an interesting first night for Newby, his players and the Eagles fans.
Tickets are still available on the box office and the game will be live on the Women’s British Basketball League YouTube channel with build-up from 7:20pm.