FIVE THINGS…. FROM NPL QUEENSLAND ROUND FOUR

Mother nature always wins

Funny how the two matches that have to be replayed from the weekend involve home sides whose logos are inspired by weather phenomenon in the Strikers and the Thunder. The Strikers match was called off well before kickoff time due to an inundation of Perry Park whereas things got to midway through the first half for the Thunder and the Jets before lightning intervened.

After only four weeks, we’re already starting to see the catch-up fixtures bank up with both the Thunder and Roar now with two fixtures in hand.

Western Pride are title contenders

Stand up and take notice everybody, the Western Pride are here. Defeating last year’s Champions, Palm Beach, provided the ultimate bounce-back after the last minute loss to the Strikers the week before. The bunch of youngsters are firing and Gab Hawash had the ultimate 18th birthday present, netting in the Pride’s win.

Saturday’s match against the Brisbane Roar provides an interesting test with both sides boasting young squads, many of the Pride players having being part of either the Roar Youth or QAS systems in recent years so both sides should be pretty familiar of how the other will play.

Attack not an issue for the Heat but defence is

Firstly, let’s take a look at the Brisbane City equation out of the match against the Heat. When a side scores three goals, you’d normally expect them to be a fair chance of winning but for the second time in four weeks, they’ve had half a dozen put past them. The suspension of the club’s most capped player, right back Luca Jannese, didn’t assist City’s cause. Positively, they were better getting out of their own half, the tempo was much improved and quicker than previous weeks so there are signs of forward progress.

To the Heat’s side of the fence, they can’t rely on scoring six every week so it means the defence needs improvement having now conceded eight goals in three weeks. There are some excuses, captain Tamas Maffey-Stumpe has been out injured, Cam Morrison hadn’t had game action in three weeks while new recruit, centre-back James Price, will be available for selection this week after serving out a three week suspension, a legacy of his time at Brisbane Force last year. Coach Martin Docherty has obviously targeted defence as a key area to work on at training this week.

Of course, the other thing we can’t forget out of this match was the hat-trick of Jamie Carroll for the Heat, currently in a purple patch of form.

Where are Redlands at?

If there was one match that Redlands would have fancied their chances in when looking at their fixture list for the opening five matches, it would have been this one. The most concerning stat out of the Red Devils match against the Fury was that they only managed three shots at goal for the game compared to their opponents’ twenty-five.

Yes, there is still a period of adjustment. Ipswich Knights recruits, Igor Sao Jose and Mitch Bird are still finding their feet. Nico Bechar is sweating on his international clearance after a stint in New Zealand. If he and Elliott Ronto can regain the connection they began to forge at the end of last season, Redlands potency in front of goal should begin to fire again.

Olympic’s goal-scoring capability is not quite the same as previous years 

The positive is that they collected their first win of the season but with 57% of possession, could only manage twelve shots on goal. That was a similar experience to their round three match against Redlands where in the first half, in particular, they had the better of the attack but only had one goal to show for their efforts.

Sure, there will be adjustments that have had to be made after the key departures of Reuben Way and Jake McLean but it’s still an all-star front three featuring Danny Byrne, Tim Smits and Rhys Meredith. Providing them with the service they require in the coming rounds will go a long way to ensure Olympic remain in touch with the top four.

Live NPL coverage this weekend

Saturday 3:30pm – Brisbane Roar v Western Pride (QSN Radio)

Sunday 6:00pm – Olympic v SWQ Thunder (FQ Live Stream)

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