Five things we learned from the NPL Queensland Round 2

By Rafe Griffin – NPL Queensland correspondent

1. Pride can win tough

It was a gruelling, end-to-end match out at Ipswich on Saturday night as Western Pride hosted Northern Fury. Harry Sawyer scored the only goal of the match just after the half hour with the Pride showing they can guts out a win, repelling a sustained flurry of Fury efforts in the dying minutes of the match.

Two from two and top of the table, they’ll know exactly where they’re at as a team when they face the might of the Strikers on Saturday night.

  1. Brisbane City is alive and kicking

Not the result they wanted on the park but it was a vast improvement from the heavy 6-0 defeat in round one. The fruits of a lot of work off-the-park in the off-season came to life at Brisbane City on Friday night if this photo is anything to go by (photo – Brisbane City Facebook).

City photo

Great to see everyone banding together as one and as I live in the area around the Brisbane City catchment, I’ve witnessed first hand the effort that has taken place.

But the important thing now is that the momentum continues and the crowds continue to fill the newly named Corporate Travel Management Stadium to help the boys get results on the park.

What better opportunity than this Friday night with another high profile visitor, Brisbane Roar Youth. Of course people, Friday night can only mean two added attractions at City, pizza and ribs!

  1. Charles Mendy slices and dices

Redlands’ Adam Chandler could well still be having nightmares after Charles Mendy used him as his personal turnstile in the Jets win at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Friday night. While Mendy hasn’t scored in the opening two games of the season, his fleet-footedness and deft footwork on the ball is giving defenders plenty of reasons to reach for the Panadol.

On a similar note, double teaming last year’s Golden Boot, Royce Brownlie, isn’t a guarantee of stifling Moreton Bay’s attacking options. Daniel Clark, Liam Previtera and Jordan Farina are proving that there’s other avenues to goal apart from the evergreen Brownlie and flair of Mendy’s.

  1. The Thunder has great potential

Congratulations to the South-West Queensland Thunder. After winning their first ever match in the senior competition in round one last year but cancelled out when the CQ Energy couldn’t fulfill their licencing requirements, the Thunder’s only competition point prior to Saturday night came from a washed-out game against Redlands last year.

However, their first ever competition point from a ‘valid match’ has been realised. Yes, the first half of last year was pretty dire but things did improve in the second part of the season, some of that momentum seemingly to have built into this year.

Tough trip and a long day in store this Saturday though, with a drive to Brisbane, then two and a half hour plane trip to Cairns.

  1. FNQ spirit

Speaking of the Heat, that fighting spirit shone through again on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday. Remember last year where the playing group went down like nine-pins prior to the match in Ipswich against Western Pride leaving only twelve fit men for the matchday squad?

Coach Martin Docherty had a similar dilemma over the weekend with lynchpin captain Tamas Maffey-Stumpe missing the trip through injury, so too Charlie Beverley and Jamie Gosling along with the suspended duo of Cam Morrison and James Price. With a bit of luck, probably should have taken all three points against the Fire but a gutsy point earned nonetheless.

Oh, by the way, the lone substitute in that Western Pride match last year was then-reserve ‘keeper Kevin Ward who came on as an outfield player and scored. He’s obviously since been readmitted to the goalkeeping union because he was outstanding with the gloves on Sunday, including saving a penalty. That performance going a long way to sealing his chance of claiming Daniel Valcicak’s vacant jersey.

This weekend’s live coverage:

Friday 8:30pm – Brisbane City v Brisbane Roar – QSN Radio

Sunday 6:00pm – Olympic v Redlands – NPL Queensland live stream