NEVER before have expectations been so high for the Bendigo Bank Spirit and coach Bernie Harrower admits he's feeling the pressure.
The Spirit tips-off its WNBL title defence next Friday with its strongest-ever squad.
Kristi Harrower has re-signed, while Sara Blicavs, Elyse Penaluna, Tessa Lavey and Heather Oliver add to a powerful arsenal at Bernie Harrower's disposal.
But with that comes expectation.
"I do feel the pressure of expectation. Last year nobody even picked us to make the play-offs, let alone win the championship," Harrower said.
"We've got a better team than we did last year, certainly, on paper.
"The expectations are...we're going to be tough and you're going to be premiership favourites.
"That's fine, but we still have to produce the goods.
"We go 12 deep and even our reserves are good enough to play at any time.
"It's going to be tough for me to manage those players' minutes, because one thing that makes players unhappy is not getting the minutes they think they deserve.
"That wasn't such a problem last year, but this year it will be."