Cougars on the rise
CQ COUGARS coach Joe Fenech is slowly building his squad for the 2012 QSL season with 12 players now named.
Fenech named Johnathon Sauer as his first signing last month but has been checking out players at training since then.
One slight surprise is the return of Michael Cay to the Cougars.
The surprise is not a question mark against the player's ability, Cay has been recognised as one of the better players Central Queensland has produced in recent times, but more his fitness.
Cay has yet to train with the Cougars as he has been recovering from a knee injury and consequently has also yet to show the coach what he is capable of producing for the team.
"I have spoken with him and spoken to a couple of people about him," Fenech said.
"I have watched DVDs of him and he has a very good touch on the ball and a good range of passing."
Consequently Fenech is not prepared to speculate on what position he is likely to use Cay in but the coach is keen to see every position in the squad having adequate cover to allow for injury, suspension and loss of form.
A player that is already exciting the experienced coach is Frenchville youngster Jordan Miller.
"He is quality, I see a lot of potential in him," Fenech said, "once he sets his mind to it he can become anything he wants to be and I don't say that about many players."
A newcomer to the squad is Dutch player Sander Waterland who is coaching with the Total Football Academy in Rockhampton.
"He's a central midfielder and very good on the ball," the coach said, "that will be important as I like to play a short, sharp passing game."
Fenech is happy with the number of players who are capable of giving the team width going
forward with Capricorn Coast's Matterson McGuire, Chris Swain, Miller and Jared Lancaster all capable of doing a job for the team.
One disappointment is the loss of Scott Smith who was also working with the Total Football Academy.
Fenech could see huge potential in the young Englishman but Smith has decided to accept employment on the Gold Coast and is likely to line up against the Cougars this year when they meet the All Stars.
Other players will be trialling with the Cougars over the coming two months and players training with the squad still have the chance to impress the coach.
On Saturday the Cougars will have a trial match using squad members at Parkana Park with another trial match set down for January 15.
The first major test is likely to come on January 28 when the squad travels to Blackwater for a match against Emerald Eagles.
Ben Millar, a player named by Fenech amongst his 12 players, will turn out for Emerald.
Fenech said the game is a farewell for Millar who played for Emerald before moving to Zilzie recently.
The Cougars are also set to host QSL opponent Whitsunday
Miners, at a venue yet to be announced, on February 25.
Fenech has announced that during February he will introduce the Squirts training program for Cougars Cubs players aged 4 and 5 which he will personally conduct.
There will be only 40 places in the first eight week program and the first 40 applicants will be accepted.
The 12 players named in the Cougars squad so far are: Tim English; Matt Sauer; Troy Ruthven; Jarrod Lancaster; Dylan Kussrow; Michael Cay; Jordan Miller; Sander Waterland; Johnathon Sauer; Chris Swain; Matterson McGuire; Ben Millar