Weston welcome chance to erase last-round nightmare 

WESTON will not need extra motivation today when they travel to Edgeworth for the Northern NSW State League elimination semi-final.
Nanjing Night Net

As well as playing for survival, the Bears are hurting and desperate for redemption after an 8-0 drubbing on home soil to Lambton Jaffas in the last round.

But if they are looking for an extra spur, Weston coach Darren Elkin believes they should look no further than club captain Chris Cousins.

The 35-year-old father of three, who has led the Bears since 2006, will retire at the end of the season after more than 150 first-grade games for the club.

Elkin said the centre back was a respected figure at Weston and deserved to go out on a high.

‘‘Couso does a lot of the talking and a lot of the leadership around the club,’’ Elkin said. ‘‘He will be missed, but I don’t think the club will realise how important he is until next year, if they are going through a rough patch. He has great leadership qualities.’’

Cousins, who started at the Bears but had stints at Cessnock and Beresfield, was confident his teammates would not need an added push to fire up today.

‘‘I said to the guys after the game [last week], because they were all gutted and filthy about the result and how we played, that the good thing is we get an opportunity to right the wrongs,’’ Cousins said.

‘‘If we finished sixth, we’d have to swallow that pill over the whole off season.’’

Elkin said he had tried to keep training relaxed this week because he believed his players had placed too much pressure on themselves in recent games.

The Bears will be without midfield enforcer Rob Macbeth, who was sent off last week for using an elbow and copped a three-week ban, and playmaker Jason Cowburn due to suspension today.

Edgeworth will also be down two key players.

Goal-scoring midfielder Aaron Pritchard is suspended due to yellow card accumulation after picking up one for kicking a ball away last week.

Striker Chris Wheeler, who has battled a hamstring problem all season, is highly unlikely to play after limping off late last week.

A still confident Eagles coach Gary Wilson said 17-year-old Brody Taylor would come in for Wheeler, while Alex Johnson-Young or German Marco di Biccari would replace Pritchard.

RESPECTED: Chris Cousins.

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