The Brisbane Strikers commenced their existence in 1994 in Australia’s then premier club competition, the National Soccer League, and are still considered one of Queensland’s premier football clubs.
Initially owned by the Queensland Soccer Federation, the Brisbane Strikers were subsequently managed by a Trust Management Group of which Dr Clem Jones (former Lord Mayor of Brisbane) was a member. Dr Jones would go on to guide the club through the late 1990s and into the 2000s.
The club’s greatest achievement on the field came in the 1996/97 NSL season when, led by player-coach Frank Farina, they won the Grand Final in front of a then-record NSL crowd of 40,440. When the NSL was disbanded 1n 2004 and replaced by the A-League the Strikers initially competed in the Brisbane Premier League, becoming premiers and grand final winners of that competition in 2006.
In 2008 Football Federation Australia and Football Queensland, as part of a goal of enhancing career pathways across Queensland and providing a platform between the local and national competitions, created the Queensland State League (QSL). The Strikers saw a position in the QSL as a natural “fit” with the club’s own player development ethos. Its application to join the new State competition was accepted and the club put its best foot forward on playing fields from Brisbane to Mareeba in the QSL, becoming premiers in 2009 and 2012.
In 2013 the Strikers were accepted into the National Premier Leagues (NPL), the result of Football Federation Australia’s National Competitions Review which recommended the establishment of a new second-tier competition nationwide. The Strikers were included alongside 11 other clubs who were chosen from a field of over 20 who submitted bids for inclusion in the Queensland division.
Each club that gained a licence in the new competition was to field elite junior teams as well as a senior men’s team. This was a landmark development for the Strikers because it enabled the club to fully embrace the vision of its former Chairman, Dr Jones, who had envisioned the Strikers as a vehicle for equipping the most talented young Queensland footballers to play professional football.
The competition provides a pathway for young players into the Hyundai A-League, Foxtel National Youth League and overseas opportunities.
The NPL concept also committed each of its clubs to working with community clubs in their designated catchment areas to improve the standard of coaching of young footballers across the board, and to identify elite players who were capable of playing at NPL level and beyond. The Strikers’ catchment area encompasses thirteen football clubs in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, with Meakin Park in Logan serving as the Strikers’ training venue for juniors.
The Brisbane Strikers look forward to continuing to deliver on the two primary objectives that have shaped our approach to date – identifying and developing the talents of locally-based footballers with a view to preparing them for the elite levels of the game, while playing in the highest standard of competition available to the club.
The implementation of this vision has seen a long list of former players make the advance to professional football, including Clint Bolton, Jon McKain, Kasey Wehrman, Chay Hews, Shane Smeltz, Shane Steffanuto, Matt Mackay, Jade North, Josh Rose, Matt Smith, Michael Zullo, and Adam Sarota.
Currently one of our PlayStation 4 NPL youth players is in the AIS national program, six are in the Brisbane Roar program and one has joined English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion as each of them take their first steps toward that professional opportunity.
On the field in competition, four seasons of PlayStation® 4 NPL football have seen the Strikers’ senior men’s team finish in fourth position on the first two occasions, equal first in 2015 and first in 2016, when Kevin A’Herne-Evans’ squad secured the club’s first PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland premiership.
While Strikers have qualified for finals football in each of those four seasons they are yet to break through for a Grand Final victory, having been eliminated at the semi-final stage in 2013, 2014 and 2016 by Olympic FC, Gold Coast City (then Palm Beach) and Redlands United respectively, while losing the grand final to Moreton Bay United in 2015.
Nevertheless, those finals qualifications continued an unbroken run of 13 years of finals football that stretched back to the last year of the NSL in 2004.
The club has also already established a proud record in another competition recently introduced by Football Federation Australia – the Westfield FFA Cup. Commenced in 2014, the Westfield FFA Cup is a knockout-style cup competition available to clubs at all tiers of the game in Australia – community clubs, PlayStation 4 NPL clubs and Hyundai A-League clubs – the latter joining once the national field has been whittled down to 32 teams. Strikers have successfully won their way through the qualifying rounds in each of the competition’s three years to date. Our best performance was in 2014, when club legend Hews coached us to the Round of 16 before losing in Adelaide to our old NSL foes Adelaide City FC. But 2015 and 2016 also saw us perform with distinction in being eliminated in two of the competition’s most outstanding contests – a 3-4 loss away to Melbourne’s Hume City FC and a 1-2 loss at home to Hyundai A-League club Melbourne City in 2016.
The latter game was the first Westfield FFA Cup tie Strikers had been drawn to host and was attended by a crowd of over 3,500 at a rain-soaked Perry Park, when the club had the honour of being the first Australian football club to host Socceroo legend Tim Cahill in a competitive club football match in this century.