WESTERN Suburbs will use the disappointment of not meeting expectations 12 months ago as a motivating factor at this year’s NSW State Cup.
The Magpies will head into the open men’s division as one of the competition favourites.
They will enter the tournament in good form after repeating their Vawdon Cup heroics from 12 months ago, but will hope that’s where the similarities end.
Port Macquarie’s Paddy Coelho is looking forward to returning home and donning the black and white.
He said there had been plenty of lessons learned after they bowed out of the competition at the quarter-final stage in 2015.
“One thing we’ve taken from last year’s disappointing result is that we know what we need to fix and how to handle ourselves,” he said.
“We learnt a lot on how to cope with the tag of being one of the top teams and everyone gunning for you.”
Wests are one of the team’s everyone loves to hate, but Coelho and his teammates welcomed the opportunity to right the wrong’s of one year ago.
“It makes you want to play a lot better knowing everyone’s out there to knock you off the perch,” he said.
“I think it’s a compliment to our side because it’s a very hotly contested division that we play in.
“Every game will be tough in the men’s premier league division so unfortunately there will be no easy ones.”
Luckily for Coelho, the Magpies tournament won’t start until Friday afternoon at 1.10pm.
It means the 22-year-old can have a sleep-in after younger brother Liam’s 18th birthday party on Thursday night.
“It’s definitely a good thing for us to have that bye in the first round,” he said.
“Our first game is against Donnybrook, a Scottish team who are a bit of an unknown quantity for us, but it’ll be a good hit out.
“Having a sleep-in isn’t a bad way to start.”
But it isn’t all about the touch football for Coelho who will no doubt take to the water at Flynns Beach for a swim or surf.
The influx of bluebottles earlier in the week won’t be enough to keep him out of the water.
“The best part about coming home is definitely being able to walk down to the beach and go for a swim or a surf whenever I want which we can’t do in Sydney,” he said.
Coelho and his teammates will welcome any additional support from the grandstands if Port Macquarie wishes to adopt another team.
“As a club we’re known for not being liked by many people in Sydney, but if the Port Macquarie crowd can support Wests that’s a big plus for us,” he said.
“I know I’ll head out and support the other Port Macquarie teams that are here this weekend.”
Coelho was confident Western Suburbs would give themselves the best opportunity at making finals day on Sunday.
“To win the State Cup is what everyone comes here this weekend to do, so that’s our main focus,” he said.
“But at the end of the day if we play to our strengths we’ll give ourselves every shot at doing that.”
The men’s final is at 4.10pm on Sunday at Regional Stadium.