What is Paul Goriss' goal for the Canberra Capitals?

How do you replace your team's most valuable player, a WNBL All-Star five member and the best defensive player in the league?

Canberra Capitals coach Paul Goriss was fronted with that exact situation and quickly realised you can't - Marianna Tolo was "irreplaceable".

That's why the Capitals are sporting a new-look outfit for the 2017-18 WNBL season, which gets underway against Bendigo at the National Convention Centre on Friday.

New year, new players, new court. What is the goal for the Capitals this year?

The goal for us is to protect our home court as much as possible. We want to make this a place where teams do not enjoy coming to play.

We've been predicted to finish eighth - in last place. That's a little motivating factor when people question our chemistry, our youth and our health on how it's all going to go.

That's a little bit of a kick up the pants to us, to say right from the get go people are thinking we're just going to be either the easy-beats or finish last.

That only causes more motivation for us to go out there and play even harder than we were going to.

Marianna Tolo is gone, Carly Wilson has retired. But "tough as nails" WNBA championship-winner Mistie Bass has arrived - there's plenty of experience there.

Part of the reason for having [Mistie] here is we have got a younger group, especially in the bigs.

Having her as a mentor and to help them understand the game, and to help protect them on the court a little bit [helps].

But also she brings with her WNBA championship experience and that's the one thing we needed to have.

She wants to win, she wants to get back to the WNBA and this is the platform for her to do it.

Nat Hurst has been given the captaincy - she must have been the logical choice?

Everyone knows Nat. It's just kind of bringing out the old rug, the old pillow comes back out again. It was important for us, especially with Lauren Mansfield choosing to go to Europe.

Having Nat back, being a Canberra local but also her seven championships, she knows what it takes to win. She's an extension of the coach out there and she'll lead this team fantastically.

Then there is the next generation of girls, what can we expect from them?

Other than obviously the new home court and the new venue, the most exciting bit is that young generation that we've brought in.

You've got three girls that won a gold medal at the World Uni Games with [Abigail] Wehrung, [Lauren] Scherf and [Keely] Froling and that's exciting.

Then you put in someone like Ezi [Magbegor], who is just a phenomenal athlete, is going to be a phenomenal player and what she can bring to the game with her athleticism.

Maddi [Rocci] is going to be a great lieutenant. We brought her in so she can learn off Nat [Hurst], but she's a great player in her own right... you know what value she is to a team.


Friday October 6: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

Sunday October 8: Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

Capitals roster: Natalie Hurst (c), Kate Gaze (vc), Lauren Scherf, Abigail Wehrung, Mistie Bass, Chevannah Paalvast, Jordan Hooper, Eziyoda Magbegor, Keely Froling, Rachel Jarry, Maddison Rocci, Callie Bourne (development player)

This story What is Paul Goriss' goal for the Canberra Capitals? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.