DEALT arguably the toughest draw of any side heading to West Wyalong tonight, Blayney captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper is confident a new-look Bears side will turn some heads at the rich $14,000 knockout.
Blayney will play the home side, the West Wyalong Mallee Men, in round one tonight at Ron Crowe Oval and with a host of new recruits on deck for the club’s first pre-season hit-out of 2014, Cooper was backing his Bears to perform.
But being drawn the Mallee Men first up wasn’t a concern for the hulking prop.
“All of the teams that go to the knockout are some of the best in the region ... it’s pretty even,” Cooper said.
“We’re a new team coming together, but I’ve seen how things work so far at training. I’m pretty positive about our chances. I’d love to win it, but I’m not making any promises.”
Season 2014 will be the Bears’ second since making a full-blown Group 10 comeback last season.
Recording just the draw in 2013 made for some bleak reading by the King George Oval faithful, but with Western Division centre Josh Rainbow and former Orange CYMS premiership winner Kurt Beahan joining Cooper at the club, optimism is high in Blayney.
All three will play tonight in West Wyalong.
Set to surround the new buys with a host of “talented” Blayney players, Cooper was hopeful a slight tweak in some of the Bears’ mind-set will generate a winning culture at the club.
“A lot of the boys still have the mind-set where they play because it’s fun. That’s fine but, to me, winning is fun,” Cooper said.
“If I can change their thinking a little bit to bring out that competitive side of the boys then I think we’ll be very competitive.”
Tonight’s clash with the Mallee Men kicks off at 8.05pm.
Should the Bears progress tonight, they’ll play the winner of the Hay Magpies and Cootamundra Bulldogs clash at 6.20pm tomorrow.
Courtesy of round one bye, CYMS will play their first game of the $8500 to the winner knockout against the winner of the Yenda and Temora clash at 5.40pm tomorrow evening.