Weston Bears captain Chris Cousins is asking his teammates for one thing – more of the same.
The Bears opened their season last weekend with an impressive 2-1 victory over 2011 grand finalists South Cardiff.
Weston overcame the Gunners in a match widely regarded as one of the toughest away days of the season.
Cousins’ team will host another 2011 semi-final side in Lake Macquarie at Thomas & Coffey Park on Sunday afternoon and the skipper believes a strong start to the season is vital.
“The 18 weeks of the season will go really quickly, so if we can get some sort of roll on early we can set ourselves up for the year,” Cousins said.
“If you don’t you could be struggling in mid-table, it’s whoever can get those back-to-back wins together that are going to be right up there.
“After this we have Edgeworth and Broadmeadow, who you would expect to be two of the favourites, so if we can go into those games with two wins under our belts and not as much pressure to get a result we’ll be in a strong position.”
While Lake Macquarie have lost some players from their 2011 squad, Cousins was still wary of the potential threat posed by the Roosters.
“I watched them play in the State Cup against Hamilton and I thought they were still a very tidy side,” Cousins said.
“I expect them to be up there and I know we’ll have to be at our best.”
The veteran defender was glowing in his praise of the Weston squad, saying it was one of the strongest playing groups he has seen in his time at the club.
“We haven’t brought in a load of superstars or anything, but barring one or two positions we have at least three or four guys who can fill each position,” Cousins said.
“Realistically we probably have about 16 or 17 guys who could play first grade so there’s going to be a fight for positions, which you need to have given how strong the comp is.”
Cousins didn’t anticipate many changes to the successful Bears line-up from round one, though the fact that Michael Ryan and new recruit Joel Hardwick were back in contention underlined the quality of players at coach Darren Elkin’s disposal.
“I’d probably expect us to start with a pretty similar side from last weekend barring injury,” Cousins said.
“But to have a player of Mick Ryan’s ability coming off the bench just shows how strong we are.”
The attacking edge to the Bears’ side is noticeable from previous years, with Ryan and Hardwick joined by other attacking options such as Jason Cowburn, Jamie Subat and Robbie Turnbull.
This added goal-scoring threat has, according to Cousins, strengthened Weston even further.
“In previous years I was always confident we wouldn’t concede many goals, now you look through the players we have to choose from up front and you’d back us to score a lot of goals as well,” Cousins said.
Kick-off is at 2.30pm.