Five things…. from the NPL Queensland

MORE DOUBLE-HEADERS PLEASE

The experiment was tried in the first season of the NPL with mixed reviews but the double-header on Sunday afternoon saw a veritable ‘who’s who’ amongst the crowd at Perry Park, the spiritual home of Queensland football.

A double header in 2013 meant that one club had to give up home advantage. Having the Strikers and Roar sharing the same facility for home matches seems the perfect formula for such affairs. The added allure is that Perry Park still has that appeal for those of us that have been around the game for a while, there’s that extra little magic about it with many being able to recall a special moment or two shared at the venue.

OK, enough about the childhood dreams and memories, what about the football? The Brisbane Roar Youth squad proved they have more than enough depth in their ranks, without the services of several regular players who stepped up as reinforcements for the A-League. To single one player out from the match against the Heat, Nick D’Agostino was seemingly everywhere and was duly rewarded, bagging two goals.

While the top of the table clash between Brisbane Strikers and Moreton Bay was an entertaining and quality affair that had supporters on the edge of their seat right until the final whistle. It definitely had the supporters engaged and the atmosphere could be cut with a knife at times.

FIRE ARE ‘EN FUEGO’

Impressive performances from the Fire in their last two matches against the Fury and Palm Beach sees them sit in fifth place on the ladder, just one point off Olympic. A rejuvenation seems to be engulfing the Fire with previous players Dale Hill, Tim Hollingworth and Ray Schultz re-committing to the club after stints in the Sunshine Coast Premier League. Their addition shoring up the defence (let’s forget the 7-0 loss to Moreton Bay though).

At the other end of the park, more good things are happening. Captain Reyze Kelly is proving to be an inspirational leader and in career-best form, scoring twice on the weekend against the Sharks. The revelation though is 17-year old striker Jacob Fulluck. Mainly utilised off the bench so far this season, he’s scored five times in six appearances but probably isn’t a surprise to those close to the Fire though, proving his potential last year with thirty-two goals from twenty under 18 appearances last year.

On current form, they would be heavily favoured to come away from their Anzac Day clash against Redlands with the three points and could well be in the top four come the end of the weekend.

HOME AND AWAY

Many would have been of the opinion that teams having to travel long distances would prefer to travel on the day before their match so as to have plenty of time to settle in to their new location but FNQ Heat coach Martin Docherty provided an alternate perspective on the travel aspect over the weekend.

The Heat were in Brisbane by lunchtime Saturday for their Sunday afternoon match against the Roar. Without making any excuses for his side’s performance, he made the point that being away for a relatively long period of time can have a mental impact on semi-professional/amateur players. It seemed to be evident at times during the game, the side looking particularly lethargic in the later parts of the first half.

It’s an interesting observation, with the Heat squad essentially giving up their entire weekend for that match. Leaving Cairns first thing Saturday morning, their flight back to Cairns wasn’t until 8pm Sunday night. It a major commitment for players and for those that live in rural towns such as Mareeba, they would have struggled to be in their own beds again before midnight Sunday night.

TURN A LOSS INTO A POSITIVE

At the end of the day, it was a loss but there was a lot to like about Brisbane City’s performance against Olympic on Friday night. With a big crowd in attendance, on the back of some fantastic promotion by the club, it looked like it might have been a rewarding night for City supporters when Antonio Murray scored inside the first ten minutes but Olympic found their groove to come away 3-1 winners.

Incoming interim coach Darron Heselden showed that youth will be firmly in his thoughts while he’s in the job, promoting Paul Stevens and Hamish Maguire into the starting eleven. The opening to the second half was a little shaky, conceding two goals in the first five minutes that ultimately decided the match but they went on to create enough opportunities from there that caused Olympic some headaches. While finals football looks beyond City now, similar performances will see them provide nuisance value to title aspirants.

WESTERN PRIDE BOUNCE BACK

So we can probably now safely say that the Western Pride’s 12-0 loss to the Brisbane Roar before the Easter break was a blip on the radar. Hard to think that a side suffering that kind of heavy loss can be third in the standings but that’s the case after picking up a 2-1 win against Redlands on Saturday night.

It’s time to put the league aside for one moment though. By a quirk of fate and for the second year in a row, they’ve been drawn against their Ipswich cousins in their entry point to the FFA Cup.

Brisbane’s Trophy Superstore Premier League side Ipswich Knights won this corresponding match 3-0 last season but this year is a totally different ball game. The squads that will go into this match will have very little resemblance to those from the last occasion. Karl Dodd and his squad were keen observers of the Knights’ most recent FFA Cup win against Moggill so for an entertaining affair, get along to Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba on Wednesday night where you can also assist charity as the gold coin entry will go to the Salvation Army.

Live NPL coverage this weekend:

Friday 24 April, 7pm. Olympic v Brisbane Strikers – QSN Radio

Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Redlands v Sunshine Coast – Football Queensland Live Stream

Advertisements