Coach eyes off-shore talent
THE road to Rockhampton airport will be well used by Cougars personnel over the next few weeks with the first trialist having arrived on Monday.
Twenty-two-year-old Tim Cornthwaite touched down for a two-week trial during which time he hopes to convince coach Joe Fenech he can do a job for the club in the QSL season.
Cornthwaite has been playing his football in Auckland, New Zealand, but wants to progress his career in a league where the players are regularly viewed by the scouts from the big A-League clubs.
But first he has to convince Fenech he has what it takes.
"I've been playing football since I was five years old, and in goal for the last six years," he said.
Up until then Cornthwaite was playing half a game as a striker before spending the next 45 minutes between the sticks.
He decided he needed to select his best spot and chose goalkeeping.
In recent times he has been playing in goal with Birkenhead United, from Auckland's Premier League, but is impatient to reach a higher level.
"I just felt like a change as I wanted to further my career," he said.
"I've known a couple of players who tried the State League and they had a great time and loved it over here."
Knowing the Cougars newly appointed captain Troy Ruthven means he has at least one contact in Rockhampton.
In 2008 the pair met when they were on the same football tour to Europe, playing matches in Holland and against the academy teams from some of the major clubs.
While not enjoying the cooler conditions, Cornthwaite did get a taste for playing at a higher level of the game.
Back in New Zealand he came close to selection for the national under-20 side in the World Cup, only to be informed he did not qualify as he was a couple of weeks too old.
He also had little luck when scouts from a New Zealand national league club checked him out as their visit coincided with one of his less memorable matches.
Last night was the first opportunity for the young keeper to meet up with his new teammates and show his own credentials as a keeper.
It will not be easy for the Kiwi as Tim English has already been named in the Cougars 2012 squad and Joel Morrison looks to be another impressive candidate for keeping the job.
For Fenech, it will be a nice problem as competition means players have to perform to keep their positions.