Cougars face tough start to season

THERE is nothing like having a nice easy start to a season’s competition; but the Webbers Retravision Cougars has nothing like an easy start for the Hyundai QSL season.

Former Football Queensland councillor Blair Burke attended a meeting of club’s at the weekend at Brisbane and came away with a positive feeling despite the reduction in the number of teams to just eight for the 2010 season.

“There will be eight teams playing three rounds of games,” he said.

Football Queensland was under pressure to admit teams that weren’t willing to pursue the philosophy of the states league, but Burke said that had been resisted.

The Hyundai QSL was set up as a league to underpin the A-League and provide players with a clear path in their development and Football Queensland intended to keep the competition in the same format in the foreseeable future.

While teams like Olympic, Redlands and Logan have fallen along the wayside, Burke said the Strikers are one Brisbane-based side fully backing the concept.

“I think they can see the future,” Burke said.

A part of the reasoning behind a travelling level of football in the state was to lift the standard of all clubs.

While the QSL teams have been forced to reach that level, Burke said it has formed a gap between them and local football and this was an area of concern.

The Cougars tough start begins on March 27 against last year’s minor premier Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park.

While the Strikers has had a clear out of its ranks, the club always sets the benchmark in Brisbane and is certain to be a contender once more.

The Cougars won’t have to wait too long before the team gets the chance to host a game at its new base of Ryan Park with the first home match scheduled for the following weekend when the visitors will be our northern neighbours and rivals the Whitsunday Miners.

While it’s hard to make a draw of three rounds fair for all teams, the Cougars will certainly have a hard task as it travels to the Brisbane Strikers ground twice. The side also makes two trips to another championship hopeful Sunshine Coast and added to that workload has two trips to Mareeba, the most difficult journey of the lot.

One team the Rockhampton public can look forward to visiting the city on two occasions is the Townsville based Razorbacks as they are one of the more attractive footballing teams in the competition.

Another disadvantage, however, sees the Cougars with only 10 home games while on the road for 11 games.

Cougars’ QSL draw

March 27-28 – Brisbane Strikers (a)

April 3-4 – Miners (h)

April 10-11 –Sunshine Coast (a)

April 17-18 – Bundaberg (h)

April 24-25 – FNQ Bulls (a)

May 1-2 – QAS (h)

May 8-9 – Razorbacks (h)

May 15-16 - Strikers (h)

May 22-23 – Miners (a)

May 29-30 - Sunshine Coast (h)

June 5-6 – Bundaberg (a)

June 12-13 – FNQ Bulls (h)

June 19-20 – QAS (a)

June 26-27 Razorbacks (a)

July 3-4 – Strikers (a)

July 10-11- Miners (h)

July 17-18 - Sunshine Coast (a)

July 24-25 – Bundaberg (h)

July 31-Aug 1- FNQ Bulls (a)

Aug 7-8 – QAS (h)

Aug 14-15 – Razorbacks (h)

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