Cougars coach Washington Gonzales feels his young group of players are on a steep learning curve in the Hyundai QSL.
Cougars coach Washington Gonzales feels his young group of players are on a steep learning curve in the Hyundai QSL. Chrissy Harris

Gonzales calling for team effort

KEEN to get on with the job.

That is how Cougars coach Washington Gonzales describes the feeling in the camp as his team prepares to climb yet another mountain.

Players have had a week to recover from early-season bangs and bruises but returned to training on Tuesday evening, with Gonzales reporting all are fit and ready for Saturday evening’s match at Jardine Park.

It is a game where the coach will be calling on all his squad to give everything, because the opponent is Hyundai QSL leader Sunshine Coast.

If the Coast plays its normal style of football a lot will depend on Tyson Holmes driving through from the middle of the park and collecting ball laid off by towering target man Shaun Blackman.

Gonzales said he was working on a few plans to nullify this type of attack from the Coast.

The problem is that while the style of play is well known, the Sunshine Coast uses the ploy to good effect and is rarely an easy team to beat.

Back into the line-up will be Cougars midfielder Johnathon Sauer, who trained well on Tuesday and is expected to be fit for the game.

Max Thompson is also expected to be fit after also missing the trip to Mareeba through injury.

Beating a team of hardened footballers like the Sunshine Coast is a tough ask for a team where the average age, taking out captain Trevor Wood, is barely 20 years.

“It will be a tough game but that is what we have to do to test ourselves out,” Gonzales said.

The coach is mindful that a high percentage of the 2011 Cougars are being groomed for the 2012 season, when they can put the experience gained from the present campaign to use.

One player who is showing signs of coming to grips with the faster game of state football is Jarrod Lancaster.

In the local competition Lancaster was recognised as a fine talent and he is beginning to adjust to the higher level of the game.

Also hoping to make an impression will be New Zealander Matt Davy, who got limited time in the last home game with the QAS but played against the FNQ Bulls.

Gonzales expects a better showing from him in Saturday’s match now that he has spent more time with his new teammates.

A reinforcement is on the way for the Cougars, with English defender Matt Fisk, from the semi-professional club Whitehawk, set to arrive on May 17.

Fisk plays on the left side of the back four.



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