After a 2021 season of two-halves Cockburn Cougars have re-signed their men’s captain Gavin Field as they build their momentum into 2022.
Averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 34% from three across the inaugural NBL1 West season, the former runner-up league MVP lead the Cougars in scoring for the fourth straight year.
You could make an argument Field is Cockburn’s greastest ever male player (stiff competition from Alan Erikson and Troy Clarke), but he knows how important it is to develop the next ‘Bob’ in the young Cougars line-up.
“The most important thing for me being a leader to a young group is to make sure we stay as level as we can,” Field said.
“No matter how many losses pile up it is about keeping the belief we could do it.
“Heading into 2022 it will about making sure everyone knows their roles and helping them to achieve them to the best they can which comes differently for each person.”
From the 2020 West Coast Classic heading into 2021 the Cougar men added a number of new pieces. As we move to 2022, the roster remains mostly stable, which is something Field sees as a big advantage for the group.
“Having a stable roster is crucial for us to keep moving forward,” he said.
“We made great strides as a team a whole at the end of last year and I think with the off-season improvement of all the younger guys we will be ready to go from round 1 and not wait till halfway through the year until we switch into gear.”
The 2021 season was certainly a tale of two-halves starting 2-9, and finishing with a winning streak good enough to finish the season 11-11 and a finals spot, providing significant momentum into next year.
“Obviously making the playoffs was a good step but now we need to make our mark in those games,” Field said.
“We need to keep improving on our defensive schemes because the second half of the year we were awesome on that end, and we need to make sure that we use that end of the floor to give us a few more easy buckets on the offensive end.
“Ultimately, internal growth from each and every player and our hunger to improve will lead us into a great 2022.”
Dentistry Plus Cockburn Cougars head coach Andrew Cooper knows how important Field is, and it’s not every day you have someone so loyal at your disposal.
“Gav (Field) is the leader of this program, and that was evident again across 2021,” Cooper said.
“Even when we were challenged across the first half of the season, he was a big part of us staying calm and staying the course in the second half of the year.
“We are a very young group with a lot of upside, so having another year that Bob is working with our guys, is big for us.”
Field would love to see some of that growth come from a new face in 2021, league MVP Nic Pozoglou, who the Cougars hope to see back in blue for 2022.
Pozoglou brought a different dimension to the men’s lineup in NBL1 West, allowing Field to do be his best alongside someone equally tough to guard.
“Getting Poz back would be a huge moment for our team,” he said.
“He is obviously a talented player but the best thing about him was how great a bloke he is and how seamlessly he fit into our culture like he had been there forever.
“He is a natural leader and dynamic on both ends so having him again would be huge.”
Field is the first official signing for the Cougars men, with more announcements to come over the next month.