The Canberra Capitals have called on a WNBL championship-winning mentor to bolster their coaching ranks, adding Phil Brown to their staff as they target a finals comeback.
Head coach Paul Goriss has appointed former AIS leader Brown and former Canberra skipper Carly Wilson as his assistants for the WNBL season, which starts in six weeks.
The bulk of the team will assemble in the coming days to start planning a path back to the play-offs for the first time since 2011, and Brown's addition will add extra coaching nous to the group.
Brown was the AIS coach when the team of teenagers, including future legend Lauren Jackson, won the WNBL title in 1998-99.
He has also coached in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as helping the Opals win Olympic Games bronze at the London in 2012.
Wilson is back in the assistant coaching role for the second year in a row following her retirement last year after 363 WNBL games.
The Capitals will begin their season when they play against the Sydney Flame in Sydney on October 12. Their first home against will be against the Adelaide Lightning at the National Convention Centre on October 21.
The team's preparation has been hindered by injuries and late arrivals into the capital. Leiliani Mitchell will be unavailable until after the world championships. WNBA star Kia Nurse will arrive after the season in the United States.
Marianna Tolo and Kristy Wallace are recovering from knee reconstructions and will miss chunks of the season.
But the silver-lining to Kelsey Griffin missing out on an Australian Opals call up for the world championships is that the two-time grand final most valuable player will be itching for game time when the WNBL starts.
Griffin suffered an 11 centimetre tear in her hamstring in July while playing for the Opals at a Four Nations tournament.
"It was really tough [to miss the world championships], I knew I wanted to be a part of it but I didn't know how badly I wanted it until I didn't have it," Griffin said.
"The final straw was missing out on the world champs. But I really feel fortunate about the support I have here.
"In this last week I really feel like I've turned a corner and I've got the Caps season to focus on.
"In all honestly, I probably will be fitter [for staying in Canberra]. When you're on tour, you're playing games. But it might just be 15 or 20 minutes, so you can lose WNBL match fitness."
Capitals players Lauren Scherf, Maddi Rocci, Kelly Wilson and Hannah Young are expected to arrive in Canberra in the coming days to start their preparation for a new season.
Goriss is trying to end the Capitals' run of finals misses and has recruited some big guns - including Griffin, Tolo, Mitchell and Nurse - to give his side some star power.
But Goriss will miss the bulk of the Capitals' pre-season schedule due to his commitments as an Opals assistant coach, making the presence of Brown and Wilson even more important.
CAPITALS SCHEDULE (home games in bold)
October 12: Capitals v Sydney Flames at Sydney Uni, 7pm
October 19: Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at Geelong, 7.30pm
October 21: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at NCC, 2pm
October 26: Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at AIS Arena, 7pm
November 4: Capitals v Sydney Flames at NCC, 2pm
November 10: Capitals v Perth Lynx at Perth, 3pm
November 18: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at NCC, 2pm
November 23: Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at NCC, 7pm
November 30: Capitals v Perth Lynx at Perth, 9.30pm
December 2: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at Adelaide, 3.30pm
December 9: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at NCC, 2pm
December 14: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at Adelaide, 7.30pm
December 16: Capitals v Perth Lynx at NCC, 5pm
December 21: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at NCC, 7pm
December 23: Capitals v Townsville Fire at Townsville, 4pm
December 28: Capitals v Townsville Fire at NCC, 7pm
December 30: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at Dandenong, 3pm
January 4: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at AIS Arena, 7pm
January 11: Capitals v Townsville Fire at Townsville, 8pm
January 13: Capitals v Sydney Flames at Sydney Olympic Park, 12.30pm
January 19: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at Bendigo, 3pm