Cougars’ Troy Ruthven will be in coach Joe Fenech’s starting line-up.
Cougars’ Troy Ruthven will be in coach Joe Fenech’s starting line-up. Sharyn Oneill

Cougars are set to pounce

THE big question for the CQ Cougars and their coach Joe Fenech is whether the team can continue the momentum from the win over Bundaberg Spirit despite a break of three weeks.

Following the first-half humbling of the Spirit, during which the Cougars blasted home five goals in just 45 minutes of football, the Cougars have had little match play.

Wet weather ruled out the game at Townsville with the Razorbacks and then last week they had the misfortune of having the bye in the QSL program.

That leaves the Cougars in catch- up mode if they wish to stay in touch with the early leaders but Fenech is happy to note the league's top teams are knocking each other over, with no side making an early break.

However, he is realistic about playing just one training match over the past few weeks and that was against Southside United on Thursday, which turned out to be a stroll in the park.

Unfortunately the match gave the Cougars little more then a run out, with Southside not in the same category with a team that plays at a higher level.

"Our season starts again this week," Fenech said.

The coach knows little of the Gold Coast team and admits he might tweak his line-up early in the game when he sees what the host team has to offer.

"I'm very wary the Gold Coast," Fenech said.

This season the Gold Coast has lost 9-1 to the Brisbane Strikers but the coach knows it's early days and already there have been form reversals in this competition.

"We've done no scouting. It will be tough but we've got to play our own game," he said. "We can't take anything for granted."

The team is unchanged from the starting line-up against the Spirit.

"Leading 5-1 at half-time, you have got reward a performance like that," Fenech said.

However, Fenech is over the moon about the progress being made by one of his bench players, Sean Jasperson.

"He is coming on in leaps and bounds," the coach said. "I was tempted to put him in the starting line-up.

"He has the technical ability. He can play anywhere in the back line. He is also very passionate about his game."

Fenech said the young player was prepared to stand up and air his view to teammates about their approach to the match with Southside on Thursday.

"He said there is no such thing as a training run. I like that," Fenech said.

With Fenech rewarding his players for the performance against the Spirit there is no room for Michael Cay in the starting line-up.

Cay will probably get some game time but now has the job of earning his re-call to the team after missing the season opener.

Fenech is trying to rotate his bench players, with Jordan Polkinghorn coming in this week in place of Ben Millar.

"We'll start with a 4-2 system."

That means Chris Swain will lead the Cougars line, with Sander Waterland in the hole between Swain and the midfield.

The squad flies out of Rockhampton today for tomorrow's match at Runaway Bay, which has a 2pm kick-off.

COUGARS

Tim English, Matt Sauer, Troy Ruthven, Jan Urban, Rudi Mozr, Jarred Lancaster, Dylan Kussrow, Jonathon Sauer, Jordan Miller, Sander Waterland, Chris Swain

Bench: Michael Cay, Sean Jasperson, Jordan Polkinghorn, Joel Morrison.



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