David West's training plans have become grand final tilt
WHEN David West returned from playing rugby union in New Zealand and Ireland late last year, his aim was to practice before having another overseas tilt.
It meant he was able to return to the Gladstone Goats, a team he emerged as a leader for in his early years of senior rugby union.
Initially the return was sour, because West did not qualify to play in last year's grand final and the Goats were beaten by Brothers.
But the start of this season has shown the Goats are on track to make another grand final.
The big change West has seen since returning to the line-up is the improvement in the players.
"We have a lot of new players and the reserves have been great," he said.
"Some of the young boys are so good and some of them are like seasoned A-Graders but they are 17."
It has allowed West to play a different role for the team.
"Over the last couple of years we had good players but not consistency, but now we don't have a weak link," he said.
"It frees me up to do my job better."
West is an integral link in the system.
He is a ball player, versatile and dominant kicker on the field.
He believes though that his team will be pressed more and more as time winds down in the season to put good performances together.
The task of aligning the Goats as the best in the competition really starts this weekend, playing against last year's premiers Brothers.
Not currently in the top four and finals positions because of point deductions, West said Brothers was the team to beat.
"They are sitting at the bottom but they are still the benchmark, and they are with the top four teams," he said.
"They can out rugby you at times so we will have to be switched on from the start."
West said earning a lead would be the most important part of the match today, which kicks off this afternoon in Rockhampton.
It is the start of a run he hopes brings a premiership, something he has wanted with the Goats for years.
Then he will head back overseas with more confidence than ever.