Hope on horizon for Cougars

RUGBY LEAGUE

Corrimal coach Trevor Schodel is confident a new agreement with the Illawarra Cutters and an off-season recruitment drive can lift the Cougars from the bottom of the Coal League ladder.

Cutters manager Neil Lovett said the agreement will see players without any Coal League affiliations turn out for the Cougars when not required for NSW Cup duties.

"It's an attempt by the Cutters to assist the local league by offering some of our players to Corrimal," he said.

Schodel welcomed the development but said it would not be a magic fix for his side.

"Having guys with that NSW Cup ability will be a huge boost for our side but it's important that we have a good 13 around them," Schodel said.

"We went out and did a fair bit of recruiting this year; most of our first-grade boys have got NSW Cup or under-20s experience.

"We've signed Charlie Herekotukutuku who's played NSW Cup for Wentworthville and Newtown - he's a quality fullback.

"We've got Terence Green who's played NSW Cup at Wests, Cronulla and North Sydney; Niketa Kepping played 20s at Cronulla and Paul and Jimmy McClory have got 20s experience as well.

"It's going to be a different side to last year that's for sure."

Schodel said that a significant culture change was required at the club after a dismal 2013 season and was confident his new roster could return the Cougars to the finals.

"I inherited a side [last year] with lacklustre commitment and the desire just wasn't there," he said.

"We had to do something as a club and as a team. The club's been very supportive in doing that and we've gone out and recruited some quality players.

"These guys that I've brought along don't just want to be here for one year, they're keen to stay for two or three years, so we've got guys who want to play as mates but have got that experience as well."

The club may also be boosted during the season by the appearance of one of its favourite sons, Luke Patten, who's keen to play - when his NRL video refereeing schedule will allow it.

"He's going to try to help out where and when he can," Schodel said.

"He's got a lot of commitments with the video refereeing but he'd be perfect for us if he could have a game.

"He's still very passionate about the club.

"Being a local Corrimal kid he hasn't played here for nearly 20 years but he's still got that feeling within him. That's perfect for the club and the environment we're trying to build."

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