Cougars midfielder Jarrod Lancaster sets up an attack for the Cougars in a game earlier this season.
Cougars midfielder Jarrod Lancaster sets up an attack for the Cougars in a game earlier this season. File

Lancaster faces steep test

THE learning curve is a steep one for Cougars teenage midfielder Jarrod Lancaster, but the youngster is enjoying the challenge.

Today Lancaster lines up in the middle for the Cougars against one of the toughest teams in the Hyundai QSL, the table-topping Sunshine Coast.

With the Cougars collecting just one point so far this season it would be easy for a young player to take the simple option and return to a less rigorous competition, but now Lancaster has had a taste of state league football he is keen for more.

“It is a lot faster and you play against a better quality of player, I’m just starting to get used to it,” he said.

“I am pretty happy with the way I’m playing, I just have to be more consistent.”

Lancaster is able to assess his own game and said the main thing is to be more consistent over the full 90 minutes.

That criticism could be levelled at many players and it is something they can work on individually and collectively.

“We just have to keep doing what we are doing only cut out the mistakes,” he reported.

Moving up from the Capricorn League is a big step and against the best teams in the league a mistake is often punished by giving away a goal, something coach Washington Gonzales is only too aware of.

An advantage for Lancaster has been playing in a side with so many of his former Bluebirds teammates.

Lancaster said he enjoys playing with Johnathon Sauer in the middle of the park and has been asked to play a more attacking style of midfield game.

Also encouraging has been the form of Matthew Sauer, who joined the squad late but has done well even though he has been playing more defensively than when he was in local football.

Lancaster relishes the opportunity of playing against the Sunshine Coast.

“They have quality all over the park,” he said.

In the midst of the Coast’s formation is Tyson Holmes, arguably the best player in the league.

“I’m not sure who will be looking after him yet,” he said.

Holmes was voted the league’s MVP for the past two seasons and is one of the main reasons why the Coast has finished always in the top two.

 The battle for places in the Cougars has been made a little more competitive with Bryce Ruthven having a change of heart after telling Gonzales he no longer had the motivation to play state football.

Into the squad is Frenchville’s Patrick Grice who has impressed in training with the Cougars under-19 squad.

The youngster is quick and will provide Gonzales with another option should he want to make changes during the match.

Kick-off at Jardine Park is 7pm. There will also be two Junior Premier League matches from 4.30pm.



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