Cougars are on the prowl
THERE is a new determination in the CQ Cougars camp stemming from coach Joe Fenech and his captain Troy Ruthven.
With game one of the state league tonight at Jardine Park, the pair can't wait for the referee to blow his whistle.
"The way we look at it we have a stronger side this season and so we have to go out there and want only to win," Ruthven said. "If we get a good win then we get the support of the community."
The Cougars will be stepping onto a Jardine Park pitch that looks totally different to previous years.
The playing surface looks magnificent and truer than in previous seasons while a barrier around the pitch makes the park look like a real football ground.
"The pitch is awesome, ready to go," Ruthven said. "You walk out there as you would into a stadium and get that vibe that it's game day."
Ruthven admits the preseason for the Cougars has not been ideal.
"It has been a different preseason to what I have experienced before," the captain said. "We only had one big hit-out and that was against Mackay.
"In that game we found out what we had and what we are up for.
"Now we feel pretty confident."
Tonight's match against Bundaberg Spirit is one the Cougars should have a ring around to collect all three points.
Ruthven doesn't see spirit as playing much differently from the team that won 3-2 at Jardine Park last season.
"I'm not expecting much difference in the way they play," he said. "I hear they have four young players from Sydney, I played against one last year and he was okay."
However it is the way the Cougars play that matters and Ruthven is confident despite his team having no recognised target man.
The diminutive Chris Swain gets that role and Ruthven said that suits the Cougars' style of play.
"We like to keep the ball low and be direct," he said. "It's a positive way to play.
"We go for the win rather then sit back and hope something happens."
Coach Fenech is excited about the Cougars team he is putting out against Spirits, however there are no major surprises even though Swain had originally been considered as an impact player off the bench.
In practice matches Jonathon Sauer was the frontrunner with Sander Waterland in the hole between midfield and striker.
But after much thought, Sauer takes the position behind Swain while Waterland is picked in the middle of the park.
Fenech said the two are good at swapping their positions during a game.
Ben Millar had been considered for a start but the coach believes his game is too similar to that of holding midfielder Dylan Kussrow.
Taking over as the impact player off the bench is Tyler Stross.
"Tyler will chase everything down," Fenech said. "He has speed and gets in good position but his returns (goals) are not so good."
Fenech has also made a tactical change by increasing the pitch dimensions to a near maximum.
"I think the bigger the pitch the better it suits us," he said.
Kick off at Jardine Park tonight is at 7pm.
The Cougars team named to play Bundaberg Spirit at Jardine Park tonight:
Tim English, Matt Sauer, Troy Ruthven, Jan Urban, Rudi Mozr, Jarrod Lancaster, Dylan Kussrow, Sander Waterland, Jordan Miller, Jono Sauer, Chris Swain
Substitutes: Joel Morrison, Sean Jasperson, Tyler Stross, Ben Millar