INCOMING Blayney Bears captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper believes a new-found passion for the game can help him turn one of Group 10’s proudest clubs into a competition force.
Emerging on the front foot ahead of the club’s first formal pre-season training session tomorrow afternoon at King George Oval, the former CYMS and Hawks firebrand believes the Bears have the incoming stars and junior talent to build into a quality side in 2014.
“I’ll be honest, it feels like the first year I came over here in 2008,” Cooper said, looking back on his first stint with Orange CYMS.
“I reckon we’ve got what it takes. I’m not trying to blow things up, but I think I can lead them. I have to.
“If I can direct the boys and find the best position for everyone and find that balance ... I really rate the young guys at the club. I won’t be predicting anything, we’ll just be taking each game as it comes.
“I’m really excited.”
Cooper is one of three prized signings by the Bears for the 2014 season alongside incumbent Western Division centre and former Emerging Blues squad member Josh Rainbow and Group 10 representative Kurt Beahan.
Rated as one of the premier front rowers in bush football, Cooper is a two-time premiership winner and has played in each of the last four Group 10 premier league grand finals.
Dynamic for Hawks in the two blues’ run to the minor premiership last season, Cooper says the chance to have a more hands on role with the Bears was all the drawcard he needed to make the switch to maroon and white.
“I’ve always been told if I have something to offer, put it out there,” he said.
“Each of my captains in the past have respected my opinion ... but I feel like I’ve got something more to offer. I hope I go well.”
Cooper first captain-coached with the Belmonte Bulldogs in Western Australia in 2009.
He says the physicality in the Western Australian competition was matched only by the players’ passion for the game.
“That’s what I want to bring over here, that passion,” Cooper said.
“I think Blayney was brilliant last year, they just didn’t get the result. Hopefully we can change that this season.”
Blayney’s first formal pre-season training session will be from 5.30pm tomorrow afternoon at King George Oval.