NEW Wagga Heat coach Matt Bishop says he's willing to "live with the growing pains" of the club's young emerging players after beginning his tenure with an 89-62 road win over Dubbo on Saturday night.
A date with the winless Rams was welcomed by the Heat after they had won just one of their first seven games, with Bishop's predecessor John Norman quitting after last week's 32-point loss to Canberra.
Heat captain Zac Maloney said last week the team is keen to rebuild with young talent. Former Heat player Bishop has a long history in junior representative coaching, and heads up the Southern Sports Academy's basketball program.
Despite living in West Wyalong his previous relationships with Heat coaches and players, plus the fact his son Chaz is on the team, convinced him to coach the rest of the season.
Youngsters like Chaz, Eddie Merkel, Pat Mecham-Hoare and Fletcher Petersen are showing potential against more experienced opposition.
"They're all kids around 18 or 19 years old. In any other place they'd probably be playing youth league, but here they have to go up against grown men and it can be a pretty steep learning curve," Bishop said.
"As long as they're ripping in and training really hard, we'll live with the growing pains.
"We want to run a lot, we don't want players racking up 38 minutes if possible. If we can get 25 minutes out of our best players at 100 per cent, it's better than 38 minutes at 65 per cent when they're trying to conserve energy.
"The young players can play a part in that and if they make mistakes trying to do the right thing, they'll learn from it."
Bishop said the challenge of trying his hand at coaching older players was too tempting to resist.
"I was keen to have a go at coaching with some older guys and men's sport," he said.
"The ties with a lot of the players, the younger guys and coaching staff swayed me."
Bishop said he is yet to consider whether he will continue to do the job after this season.
"I really haven't even thought about that," he said.
"At this stage it feels pretty good because I only have to do an 11-week stint with the Heat. I'll get that done, then reassess."
The Heat host the Illawarra Hawks this weekend.
WAGGA HEAT 89 (S Dearborn 23, M Brunell 18, D Tye 15) def DUBBO RAMS 62 (R Dewar 28, R Birrell 14)