NATHAN Morris hates when people tell him the resurgent Bears have time on their side to win silverware.
The skipper, who lost three grand finals with Weston before winning one with Lambton Jaffas in 2017, wants to do it this year.
And he believes the winning mentality coach Kew Jaliens has brought to the club is a major reason why the mostly young side are in the mix to do just that.
Weston surged to the top of the Northern NSW NPL table on Sunday after a 4-2 round-12 victory over Hamilton in which Morris scored a hat-trick.
The 32-year-old defender, who shelved retirement plans to return to Weston in 2018, came off the bench to score twice from the spot, either side of a trademark free kick into the top-right corner.
It was his comeback from a right groin injury that had restricted him to just three top-grade appearances this season.
"It was my first hat-trick," Morris said. "I don't think I even had one in under sixes. I've had a few doubles, but never a hat-trick.
"All that was going through my head was don't tear your groin. But it worked out good."
Morris and Robbie Turnbull, who returned to the club this year, are survivors from a Bears era that included premierships in 2004 and 2010, and grand final losses in those years and 2014.
After wooden spoons in 2016 and 2017 and ninthplace last year, the Bears are back as genuine contenders in Jaliens' first season in charge.
Morris believes a deeper squad and the influence of Jaliens, a former Dutch international and Jets captain, were the key.
"It's the vibe Kew has brought from the get-go," Morris said.
"It's been 'I'm not stuffing around, I'm only coaching to win trophies and I'll build a squad I think can do that'.
"He just reminds us and I guess if you tell someone enough times that that's what you want to do, you start to get that winning mentality.
"Obviously having the quality there to do that helps, but it's just the mentality that's been drummed into us by Kew that's the biggest thing."
And Morris believes the Bears have the makings of another strong era if they stick together.
"Looking at them, it's like us when we first started out of the Breakers academies," he said.
"After about six or seven years, we had nine or 10 of the starting 11 with over 100 first-grade games.
"I can see that in this group now. They are building something special.
"And I hate it when people say, 'it doesn't have to be this year. These boys have got a big future'. I think, stuff it. If you are going to do it, do it now. You don't know what's around the corner."
Morris believed the work-rate of the squad and the X-factor brought in through players like Dutchman Jason Tjien-Fooh had also been key in the Bears' revival.
"It's just the work rate of everyone," he said.
"Even Jason. He's come here from a higher pedigree, a higher league and he works his arse off.
"Last year people were saying to me we had a really good side, you are building something and you're just unlucky, but you just get sick of hearing it.
"You can have good sides but do anything with them, so it was frustrating. You knew you were onto something good and you just want to do well with them.
"It's good that it's happened so far this year.
"The mix is obviously right and I thought the mix was right last year but we just didn't have enough depth.
"A fair few things have got to go right for you to have a good year, but the depth makes a big difference.
"Most players are in form, no one has had any kind of form slump and you've got your X-factor.
"It's a tight comp, there's not much between sides, but if you've got that X-factor like we have this year especially with Jason and Regan Lundy, and the midfielders chipping in with a few goals, it makes it a lot easier."
Morris went past 270 games for the Bears in the win over Hamilton but said he was still learning under Jaliens, who is in his debut season as a senior coach.
"He's great, he's a breath of fresh air in that he's been everywhere and played at the highest level, and he just makes it so simple," he said.
"It's all about thinking your way around the football park.
"And I've learnt a lot from him. The young boys will probably mature a lot quicker than others their age because of him. They'll be better footballers for it."