Off-court cohesion remains a top priority for North West Thunder coach Nick Haywood, who is determined to see his side "end up where (they) need to be" this year. The Coastal side will begin their NBL1 South campaign in less than two weeks, with a round one clash against reigning champions Hobart slated for April 1. While the game was at the forefront of Haywood's mind, he was also focused on ensuring his players gelled off the court. "The off the court stuff is pretty tricky and that's the hurdle with NBWU - they compete against each other then we have to come together and there might still be grips from those games," Haywood said. "The culture we have is that we leave our NWBU hats and bags at the door and everyone is full Thunder when they come in. "So in terms of these guys getting along well, it's organically happening - maybe a bit slower than I would have liked. "And maybe we actually need to do a bit more work on it between now and when we tip off. But with Tre (Armstrong) coming in, we'll have one week of some really good time together." Armstrong is one of five new faces in the Thunder squad for the season, with American imports Montavious Murphy and Viont'e Daniels, joining Venky Jois and Callum Barker in the team. The new inclusions - as well as the returning players - had so far impressed Haywood, who is set to embark on his third season at the helm of the Thunder. "We've been progressing well and putting new structures in at each training so the guys have got to think a lot more," he said. "Which has been interesting for those that haven't been involved with so much structure and system before. "At the same time, we just want them to play as well. And the way they are getting along as people is really good." ALSO IN SPORT: The Thunder will be captained by Joe Chilcott in season 2023, with Paul Campbell, Cam Brown and Tre Armstrong to make up the side's leadership group. Haywood anticipated that Jois - who brings NBL experience to the side - would also naturally end up as a leader in the group. With excitement for the season building, Haywood was laser focused on the first game and hopeful that the results would speak for themselves throughout the year. "I'm pretty stern about focusing on one game at a time, so it's hard to think about (the end)," he said. "I think the results will take care of themselves if we keep progressing bit by bit; it's almost like the league will feel us death by a thousand cuts. "We'll hit them hard from the start. As more things start to fit in, and more guys start to fit in, we'll end up where we need to be."