Cougars light on players for Bulls
COMING from the highest levels of the world game to coaching the Cougars is proving to be a tough gig for Washington Gonzales.
Having played for Uruguay and also in some of the top teams in Australian football, Gonzales is left scratching his head at the lack of commitment of younger players in Central Queensland.
Any coach of a team in the Hyundai QSL should have a headache selecting which players in a squad of 20 he must leave out.
For Gonzales, the problem is getting enough players to travel to Mareeba today for the game against the FNQ Bulls.
One of the difficulties for the Cougars is when players drop down or are on the bench, there is a possibility they miss out on a game of football for the weekend.
Obviously when a club is unable to pay players, this becomes a major issue.
This week Sean Jasperson joined the list of players preferring to play in the lower grades rather than accept the situation as a fringe player with the State League side.
Michael Steere travels with the team, but he too is set to pull out because of his work and family commitments.
Adding to the problems are injuries to both Max Thompson and Johnathon Sauer making it a much-depleted squad for the long trip north.
Playing against the Bulls at Mareeba is always tough as the players have to fly to Brisbane before catching a plane to Cairns.
From there it is a 45-minute bus ride to the ground to face a strong and physical Bulls team which is backed by a passionate base of supporters.
“It is embarrassing, we are trying to do the right thing,” Gonzales said.
On a positive note, the return of Joe Burke will be a boost with Gonzales expected to name him at right back with Matt Sauer retaining his spot at left back.
New Zealander Matt Davy is likely to start in the middle of the park with the central defence pairing set to be different for the fifth consecutive match.
Captain Trevor Wood will start in the middle of the defence along side Gladstone's Jordan Rose.
With a lack of continuity, it is little wonder the defence has leaked goals with 14 coming from four outings.
Gonzales said the disturbing thing was the percentage of goals that had arrived due to glaring errors.
“Ten of those goals have come from our mistakes,” he said.
That number could have been a lot higher had goalkeeper Tim English not been in such fine form.
Last week the Bulls drew at home with the QSL top side, Sunshine Coast, and has also recorded a draw against the QAS.
Hopefully the news will get better for the Cougars with the club's operations manager, Brad Smith, awaiting English player Matt Fisk's decision on whether he will come to Rockhampton in early May.
The 22-year-old left back is contracted to Whitehawk, the team running second in the Ryman League behind Bognor Regis.