Brisbane Strikers fullback Brad McDonald has been signed to a professional contract by A-League club North Queensland Fury.
The fleet-footed, left-sided player has been rewarded for a tremendous Hyundai QSL season for the Strikers with a one-year contract at the Townsville-based Fury. McDonald had started in all twenty games the Strikers have played in the club’s current Hyundai QSL campaign and had been a standout performer in most of them.
McDonald, 20, has not only been a mainstay in the stingiest back line in the QSL, but has also been one of the Strikers’ most dynamic attacking weapons – tearing defences apart from out wide with his speed, strength, anticipation and close control, and setting up goals for his team mates while also scoring three himself.
McDonald’s move to the Fury makes him the second player to take the Brisbane Strikers/QSL career path into the national competition after last year’s Strikers captain, Matt Smith, signed with the Fury in the early part of this year. Smith has since moved on to the Brisbane Roar.
North Queensland Fury assistant coach Stuart McLaren, of course, did not need much convincing of McDonald’s ability, having brought him to Perry Park himself while he was head coach of the Strikers. But if the full Fury coaching staff of McLaren and head coach Franz Straka needed any further evidence that McDonald was ready to make the jump to a professional football career they got it in two recent games. The first was a QSL fixture the Strikers played in Townsville against the North Queensland Razorbacks in July, in which McDonald turned in yet another excellent all-round performance and iced it with a devastating volley for the second goal in his team’s 3-1 win that night. The second was a subsequent pre-season match for the Fury against Gold Coast United, in which McDonald impressed when given thirty minutes to press his claims.
Brisbane Strikers coach David Large was in no doubt today that McDonald has a very bright future at the professional level.
“I’ve known Brad since he was twelve years old. He was a good player then but he’s even better now, obviously”, Large said. “With his strength, speed and no-fuss attitude to getting the job done, I’ll tell you now: North Queensland Fury are going to be very pleased with their decision to sign him.
“I think he is as good as, if not better, than anyone else on the Queensland scene at the moment and, if anyone can, he is one who can step up to the next level. There are others who can, but there are none better”.
Large admitted that the Strikers would find it difficult to compensate for the loss of McDonald as they head into the QSL finals series in a fortnight’s time.
“A boy of his quality, we will definitely miss’, Large said. “We’ve always been a bit light-on this year on the left hand side. However, the timely return to form and commitment of Reagan Alder and the recent acquisition of Jonti Richter will do us no harm. We will adjust and change a few little things to give us a better balance”.
Meanwhile, McDonald admitted that he had not expected his big career break to come along so soon after he had joined the Strikers.
“It has crept up on me and I have just got to take advantage”, he said tonight. “It’s just about getting into a routine and the more I train with them (the Fury), my confidence will build. I’ve had three sessions so far and it’s going okay.
“I would just like to say thanks to the Brisbane Strikers for looking after me and helping me along, and say ‘all the best’ to the boys for the finals”.