AFTER winning back-to-back premierships, the Culburra Cougars will enter the 2017 Shoalhaven Football season as one of the favourites.
The Cougars, who have won three of the past four titles, will have the majority of last year’s roster on deck to chase the historic three-peat, something that hasn’t happened since Shoalhaven United won 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Premiership winning coach George Kulcsar admits while the milestone has been mentioned, it’s not their main focus.
“The three-peat is at the back of all our minds but it won’t change our mentality, as we will still go out and try every game we play in,” Kulcsar said.
“In saying that, I’m personally expecting us to return to the top four, with eyes for even higher.
“In the past, the only ones that can beat us are ourselves – as you can only control yourself and I think that’s the case again this season. I haven’t heard too much about the other squads but if our squad can play like I know they’re capable of, we should be hard to beat.”
Of the squad that won last year’s premiership, it appears only Jayden Wiit and Mitch Blundell have moved on
“Jayden has been a great contributor to our success of the years but we have Roy Miller join the squad and will slot into his spot,” Kulcsar said.
“Mitch Blundell has been training with us but is expected to go overseas, so I doubt we will see him on the field.
“Other inclusions include Jake Powell along with Kasey Kulcsar and Corey Ryan, who are both returning from injuries and feel like new signings.
“These additions will allow us to move Stephen Gray back to his preferred position up the pitch.”
With the season kick-off just over two weeks away (April 1), Kulcsar is excited to see if his troops hard work will translate to success on the pitch.
“This pre-season has probably been harder than any I’ve been involved with, being much more physical,” he said.
“This had created a lot of depth at the club – which should force the guys in the starting team to play well or face being replaced by another player who is putting in the hard yards.”