BACK TO WORK: Cougars Matthew Sauer, Tim English, Jesse Thompson, Ben Radstaak, Matthew Black, Michael Cay and Ben McMaster have a light run during the first training session for the 2010 season.
BACK TO WORK: Cougars Matthew Sauer, Tim English, Jesse Thompson, Ben Radstaak, Matthew Black, Michael Cay and Ben McMaster have a light run during the first training session for the 2010 season. Allan Reinikka

Cougars regroup for 2010 season

THE Capricorn Cougars hit the ground running last night as coach Brad Smith put the squad through its first training session in preparation for the 2010 Hyundai QSL season.

Players are spared the heavy grind of pre-season, at least for the time being.

“It is just a light session and kicking a ball around again,” Smith said.

“It is important the boys are doing something.”

At this stage of the year some players are still making their minds up about whether they are able to offer their commitment to a high level of travelling football.

Smith said some of the players from 2009 had stated they would not be a part of the 2010 Cougars.

After a promising first year with the Cougars, Alex Trovato could not command a place last season and that resulted in a form slide. The youngster showed in 2008 he had the ability and therefore a return to the more social levels of the game might assist him regain lost confidence.

While Trovato is more of a potential Cougar, a more serious loss for next season is Dylan Kussrow.

Kussrow was one of the players first considered when the Cougars entered the QSL, and has held a leadership role within the group whether wearing the captain’s armband or not.

His consistency in the back four will be missed, especially as Craig Porter is no longer there.

Two other regular Cougars are doubtful starters.

Gerard Kelly, arguably the league’s best keeper in 2007, is building a house and informed Smith he is a doubtful for the season while Brendan James is currently working in Brisbane and unsure when he will return.

While disappointed to lose players, Smith remains confident he will be able to produce a competitive squad.

Currently he is going through the process of contacting clubs as there are still players with the quality to play QSL, but to date are yet to make themselves available.

Also, it is almost certain three overseas players, at least, will be attracted to the Cougars for the coming season.

Before full training begins in January Smith also hopes to fill the assistant coaching position as Gary Skinner is no longer available for the role.

While the turnout for last night’s session was disappointing, Smith said a number of players had valid reasons for missing training.

The coach was also confident that approaches he has made to three players on his “wanted list” will also provide him with a satisfactory outcome.

Team manager Frank Murray was on hand to assist Smith at the session.



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