Cougars face test against rivals

SATURDAY will be a test for the young players in the Cougars as the opposition is the Queensland Academy of Sport, a team of a similar age.

The test for the Cougars players is finding out whether they are at a similar level to players of their own age who have already been identified as future talents.

Players don't develop overnight and need to work on their game before establishing themselves in senior levels of the sport.

Coach Washington Gonzales is attempting to feed youngsters into the team gradually, playing them for 20 minutes and increase their hunger so they can prove they deserve a starting position because they are ready.

Gonzales said the Brisbane Strikers game has to be a wake-up call for players who thought they had “made it” by gaining selection to the Cougars squad after playing their football in the local competition

“Our level is not much good compared to Brisbane,” he said.

“Many of the players do not have football sense and were not ready to play the Strikers.”

The players gained a pass mark for the effort they put in but the coach is frustrated by the need to go back to basics with players rather than taking them forward.

He said at training he had spoken about this gulf between football in Rockhampton and Brisbane as a way of encouraging his players to continue to develop in the knowledge that was the level they must reach if they want a career in the sport.

Gonzales reiterated his plan to take a team of teenage players overseas would assist in speeding up their football development.

Now it is a chance to regroup against a QAS team that always plays a nice brand of football.

“The QAS players will be very technical and so we will have to do all the right things,” he said.

Gonzales said this is a wonderful opportunity for the Cougars teenage players.

“The QAS is always looking for young players to develop in Brisbane,” he said.

Gonzales has had his first look at New Zealander Matt Davy and is quite impressed by the 19-year-old.

“I think he can make an impact for us,” he summed up, “he has some nice touches and runs very well.”

The coach never likes to speculate early in the week who will make up his team but this week he is also reluctant to name a squad until later today.

“I think I will be making a few changes,” he said.

Two players, Trevor Wood and Johnathan Sauer are not certain to start as they have been carrying injuries while Max Thompson is progressing well even though he gains limited time on the park.

“Maybe this is a good time to give young players an opportunity, at the moment I can't say yes or no,” he said. “I do not promise anything to anybody, they have to show me something first.”

The Cougars and the QAS meet at Jardine Park on Saturday at 7pm.

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