Cockburn Cougars women’s coach Tyrone Thwaites has announced and backed his side’s depth to come forward at key moments during the NBL1 West season.
The Cougars have shot to a 4-1 to start the season, including a standout win over Mandurah, and are currently second on the ladder.
Thwaites said that while he warned his team not to dream too big too soon, the depth they had gathered helped their strong start and he believed it would serve them well for the rest of the season.
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“We’re now in a position where we think we’ve got the culture component right, we’ve got some young kids starting to come through, and they’ve had their chances early in the season, with girls coming in and out for various reasons, and Alina Hartmann, our import, is coming in a little later,’ he said.
“We almost have the best depth of anyone, and of course, I’m biased when I say that, but our motto on the weekend with two girls was just the next girl.”
Camera IconCockburn Cougars star Jessie Edwards. Credit: Included
Tia Morgan, Haylee De Sousa, and Kirsty Whitfield have made solid contributions to the Cougars, and while the depth they provide was important, their off-season arrivals were just as crucial.
German forward Alina Hartmann has returned to Wally Hagan Stadium after three years in Europe. Former Perth Lynx developer Jewel Williams and American Katharine Tudor also signed for the Cougars off-season.
The three new signings have bolstered a team that has brought back all the star center Jessie Edwards, who has picked up where she left off last season.
Thwaites said Edwards’ impact off the pitch was just as important as her dominance on the rise, and they had built the team around her final off-season.
“Last year was quite new for us as we played Jessie, who is unique in herself; she is six feet and a bit more traditional in how she plays,” said Thwaites.
Camera IconCockburn Cougars star Jewel Williams during her Perth Lynx days. Credit: unknown/included
“Last year was a bit of an experiment, and we found this year that we always wanted to put four gunners around her and run like crazy because we know she’s got a big tank.
“Our recruits reflected girls who wanted to play that style of play with Alina and Katharine, shooters who are very fit and can run on the floor.”
Thwaites is very aware of how quickly things can change in the competition, saying he has constantly reminded his side not to take anything for granted if they wanted to continue their winning way.
“We talk a lot about not riding too high and not riding the lows too low. We are 4-1, and it’s a nice way to start, but that could change in the blink of an eye,” he said.
“From a coaching perspective, we are exploring whether we would be the opposition now, what we would do to take our momentum away, and we are working on that from a coaching perspective.”