Cougars' season ends on low note
THE Cougars disappointing Hyundai QSL season came to an end at Jardine Park on Saturday night with another loss.
Due to illness Bevan Dingley handed over the coaching to Blair Burke but in the end the local team can accept an A-plus for effort but a C for application.
It is hardly surprising the Cougars suffered another loss and it was a credit to the team that the defeat against North Queensland Razorbacks was by just 1-0.
Playing their last game of the season the Cougars went into the match with plenty of incentive to gain a result as they were level on points with Bundaberg in the battle to avoid collecting the “wooden spoon”.
Unfortunately while the Razorbacks were nowhere near as good an outfit as in previous years, the team still had a greater number of quality players compared to the home side.
Burke agreed it was always going to be difficult to cause a minor surprise against the Razorbacks.
“We just don’t have the cattle, they did a good job considering,” he said.
With the three boys from Emerald unable to train with the team regularly, and Max Thomson, who replaced suspended right back Joe Burke, carrying an injury the Cougars effort was disjointed.
However in the opening 45 minutes the Cougars matched the visitors and created a few half chances.
Troy Ruthven, playing behind strikers Michael Steere and Hayden Hearne, picked up a number of loose clearances to fire shots at the Razorbacks goal without causing keeper Ryan Chellingworth too much discomfort.
Steere came close with a ball across the face of the goal which went wide without a teammate getting a finishing touch.
The pace of Johnathon Sauer got him behind the Townsville defence but he was brought down outside the box with the match official deciding the defender was not the last man and therefore just issuing a yellow card.
Out of nothing the visitors took a lead when a routine cross from the right wing found the head of classy midfielder David Han giving Tim English no chance.
Shortly afterwards the game was in danger of turning nasty when a tackle into the back of the legs of Hearne was waved away by the official and then seconds later English import Sam Fisk extracted some vengeance on a Razorbacks player and was duly booked.
While Cougars went in to the break unlucky to be a goal down, the second spell could have been a lot worse as Jacob Crowley’s pace down the left destroyed the Cougars cover. With the home team trying to play higher up the park the Razorbacks sent a stream of passes behind the back four and could well have scored three or four times.
In the dying minutes young substitute Jordan Polkinghorn was left exposed during another speedy raid and his foul resulted in him being red carded.
“Tomorrow we start planning for next year,” Burke said, “it has been a terrible season but encouraging to have 17 players available at the end.”