LAST season, getting within six points of the reigning premiers on their home patch would’ve got a lot more than a pass mark from Corrimal.
In 2017, however, Cougars captain-coach Jimmy Grehan walked away from his side’s 22-16 round two loss to Dapto feeling it was a win that got away.
“I think the boys knew they had to step and a lot of boys did that,” Grehan said.
“Dapto have been the strongest side last year and probably this year again.
“We were a bit scrappy and we were our own worst enemy at times but I was pretty happy to put in a decent performance and give the younger blokes a bit of confidence that we’re not that far off.
“We didn’t walk away thinking we threw everything we had at them and came up short, we walked away thinking we played pretty poorly at times and almost came away with the win over the premiers.
The performance leaves Grehan confident the Cougars can take that extra step when they hosts grand finalists’ Wests at Ziems Park on Saturday.
“I really want to get the win this week to build on that confidence but also to really stamp ourselves on the competition,” Grehan said.
“I wanted to win at least two of the first three so we’re halfway there. Wests were top two last year but I think we’ve got the talent and the depth now to be up there as well.
“They don’t really have a weakness. They’re well-trained, they’re all on the same page, they’ve had that system there for a couple of years.
“They know how to defend and they really win games on the basics they do well.
“I’ve said to the boys we may only get one or two opportunities so we need to make the most of them.”
The loss to Dapto came after a comprehensive over Berkeley in round one and showed the youth-first policy Grehan has adopted can bear fruit this season.
That group includes 20-year-old half Brodie Christopherson, who made the off-season switch from Orange for an opportunity to show his wares in Country footy’s premier competition.
“There’s a heap of good boys at the club, a lot of bush boys and a lot of them around my age so it’s really looking good for the club,” Christopherson said.
“It’s a bit hard to get noticed out in the country so I just thought I’d make the move here, try and play some consistent first grade and try and get my name out there.
“It’s a good youthful and there’s a lot of us just trying to play some good footy and get noticed and Corrimal are giving us that opportunity.
“Losing by just six points to Dapto there’s good signs there. It was really there for the taking but we shot ourselves in the foot with a lot of dropped balls and a lot of penalties.
“If we get that right this week against Wests we can definitely get the win.”
The Cougars are also supporting NRL Indigenous Round with their own indigenous design strip, with all the jerseys to be auctioned off post-match at Corrimal Leagues Club