THE Bendigo Bank Spirit is once again hellbent on turning the Bendigo Stadium into a fortress in the WNBL this season.
The Spirit play their first home game of the season on Friday night when they host the Adelaide Lightning from 7.30pm.
The Bendigo Stadium was one of the toughest venues for visiting WNBL clubs last season.
The Spirit won 13 of their 14 home games last season, with their only defeat a five-point loss to Canberra.
"Part of my coaching philosophy all along is you've got to win 90 to 100 per cent of your games at home if you want to finish in the top two," Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said on Thursday.
"Winning games at home takes the pressure off when you go on the road, so we're very keen to make sure we get off to a good start at home on Friday night."
Friday night's game will be preceded by the unfurling of the Spirit's 2012-13 WNBL championship banner.
However, while Harrower said the unfurling of the flag would be a proud moment for the Spirit, the club can't afford to dwell on past achievements.
"As much as it's very special for us to unfurl the flag in front of our fans at home, that was last year," Harrower said.
"What we're trying to do this year is turn that championship into a back-to-back. The league looks like it's better than last year, so it's not going to be easy.
"Everybody will talk about us throughout the season as being the reigning WNBL champions, and we are until the next championship game.
"But that doesn't mean anything. Now we've got to focus on winning each week and make sure we get back to the championship game to give ourselves a chance of winning again. We've gone from being the hunters to the hunted and we'll have teams coming for us."
The Spirit's championship defence got off to a losing start last Friday night when they were beaten by 12 points in Townsville.
Adelaide is also coming off a season-opening loss after it was beaten by four points at home by West Coast.
Harrower hopes the Spirit will be "better for the run" after last week's first hit-out.
"We've done a lot of work this week to make sure we play with poise and are more cohesive," Harrower said.