Grit your teeth for Queensland
Cornehls encourages the Kookaburras ahead of the Australian Sides With 10 days to go until combat begins in South Burnie, Bill Cornehls once again encourages his Queenslanders to play as a team.
“The goal is to get out there and play the game the right way, play to the team plan. If they play the way they’ve been coached to play, the results will come.”
The team from the Sunshine State head down to Tasmania for the annual Australian Sides and Super 6 competition with Cornehls’ call for focus ringing in their ears.
While not as bullish as Kelvin Kerkow, Cornehls knows there is enough strength in the team to be victorious.
“Once you put a team together and everyone is on board there’s always a chance.”
“We can win the competition, but it’s a lot of hard work,” he admits.
“There’s seven games and we have to deal with every game as it comes and go out and do the best we can, to follow our processes along the way to get the results.”
Kerkow and Mark Casey return to the Queensland squad after missing the NSW series, but Cornehls isn’t pinning his hopes on just those two stars.
Both skips are backed up with experience in the ranks.
“Anthony Fantini and Brett Wilkie will help Kerkow and Casey. But there’s lot of experience in the side across the board.”
It’s not just the Men’s team that reads like a Who’s Who of Queensland greats, there’s strength and experience amongst the Women too.
“Lynsey Clarke is Australian captain and she brings a wealth of experience. Louise Witton and Tracy Foster have been around for a long time, Pam Rowe as well, all have experience.”
It is one thing having the experience in your locker, but it needs to be shown on the greens too.
“Our players can impact the game, produce match turning shots. But it is playing those shots when you have to, so it impacts the game. Players who dig deep to make those shots help get momentum to swing our way.”
The Women only have one personnel change, Christina Pavlov comes in for Lauren Wilson.
“The mix of experience and younger, greener players will create some energy,” explains Cornehls.
“Rosie (Lovelock) only has one series under her belt, but she knows where she’s got to get to. From Clarke to Rosie, and that sprinkling in the middle, we can get the mix right.”
“It won’t happen over night. We are building a side that will impact down the track.”
Cornehls insists the focus is on your own game, but is aware of what lies in wait elsewhere.
“There’s always going to be a strong NSW side; Murphy, Cottrell, Keegan, Moran. Our players need to think about what we need to do on the greens, remember the team plan, and try to transfer the pressure onto opposition.”
One player who is expected to apply the pressure is Natasha Jones.
“She’s performed well in her first year in open side. It’s a big step for her,” confirmed Cornehls regarding her Super 6 singles berth, “but you have to give players opportunities when they deserve them.”
“Natasha has shown she can be a good singles player and it’s her time to shine.”
He also has encouragement for those not in the Super 6 tournament taking place before the Sides.
“The six we left out could have been in there, both Men and Women. It’s finding the best pairs and triples combinations.”
As for Queensland’s chances in South Burnie, the team attitude is underlined in counting for success as much as the bowls.
“We need to play to our ability, don’t take opposition lightly and show respect. When they play well, we need to match that standard, and in those tough times, eliminate multiple scores and get our momentum into the games.”
Having been asked to take ownership and put in the hard yards after January’s series whitewash to NSW, Cornehls is seeking a response from the Kookaburras.
“They have to stand up, play the shot and not leave it for the next person, think ‘I’m going to grit my teeth and do it for Queensland.’ “
“They have to make it happen and perform to the best of their ability to get across the line, to push themselves to make those one percenters.”
Winning is what competitive bowls is all about, but, as usual, Cornehls sees a bigger picture to success.
“Satisfaction is for all the players to never surrender, to keep playing hard for Queensland.”
To see how our players are faring, visit the BQ Australian Sides events page or the BQ Facebook page.
The competition features all the Australian states and territories and starts on 28th March with the Super 6’s before the Australian Sides gets underway on 31st March.