Brad Aldous still has twisted emotions about the Tom Locker Cup title won by Wests earlier this summer.
The 25-year-old missed the Newcastle one-day final while travelling to visit family in native South Africa and while obviously pleased for his team Aldous was disappointed not be directly involved with the drought-breaking success.
Now the right-arm paceman wants a piece of silverware to call his own, also adding another to the Rosellas’ collection, and approaching the pointy end of the 2017-2018 campaign the first grade competition leaders have a minor-major premiership within reach.
“I was stoked about the Tom Locker Cup win, but a little disappointed to be fair,” Aldous said.
“It was the first flag [for Wests] in so many years. Every time I see that photo of the boys with the trophy I get pretty jealous.
“But this one [major premiership] is the big one. This is the one we want.
“And you’ve got to go into finals on that winning run. We’re winning every game from now on in, we all know that. A loss isn’t really acceptable.”
Wests, who are ahead of Merewether by one point, are in no danger of missing the semi-finals but can clinch top spot with a last-round win over desperate University, who need at least first-innings points in the upcoming two-day fixture to have any chance of making the four.
Aldous is also wary of taking form and confidence into the cut-throat play-off system.
The construction engineer, who signed up at Harker Oval after moving to the region from the Mid North Coast town of Camden Haven, can draw some parallels between now and his maiden 2012-2013 season that culminated in a grand final loss.
“It does have that same feel about it,” Aldous said.
“It’s a little bit different because it’s a younger team and I have a different role. I was 19 or 20 then and now I’m a bit older and more experienced.
“But it’s the same hard work at training. I think Joey [Price] has brought that mentality and that’s obviously beginning to show.”
As for his own form, Aldous has been consistently chipping in and has 31 wickets from 15 appearances across all three formats.
This features five-wicket hauls, both after Christmas, starting with 5-26 against Wallsend in an outright victory and followed by 5-9 in a T20 against Charlestown.
“I’ve got a couple [of wickets] lately, but mainly just twos and threes,” he said.
“We’ve got a pretty solid bowling unit. Pete [Lojszczyk] has taken heaps this year, so he has done most of work.
“Now it’s the end of the season I’ve got to chip in a bit myself.”