Clulow, McGowan Join Forces At Perry Park

Jan 07, 2018 by

The Brisbane Strikers’ squad to contest the 2018 National Premier Leagues season has been given a double infusion of experience and quality with the news that winger Trent Clulow and defender Michael McGowan have signed for the club.

Both Clulow, 31 and McGowan, 30 have returned to Queensland after a year playing in the NPL Victoria competition with Bentleigh Greens and Port Melbourne respectively.

Clulow (pictured) is also returning to the club he left a little over a year ago after playing a massive role in the club’s first NPL Queensland premiership-winning team in 2016.

Strikers football manager, David Large, said the decision to approach Clulow to re-sign with the club had been an easy one to make.

“Clulow was a no-brainer. He was coming back to Brisbane, he’s a quality player. It’s just an absolute bonus to be able to get him back at the club,” Large said today of the player who made 47 appearances and scored 18 goals for Strikers over the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

“I can’t say anything more about him. He’s just one of the best players I have been associated with in Brisbane”.

Clulow had a successful 2017 season with Bentleigh Greens, winning the NPL Victoria Grand Final. But he said he and his wife had decided to return to Brisbane primarily for family reasons and, having made that decision, it seemed natural to resume his football at Perry Park with Strikers.

“It was awesome to play down there – Bentleigh is a great club and it was fantastic to be involved in a season where we won the grand final,” said Clulow.

“But I’d stayed in touch with (Strikers players) Greig Henslee, Sammy Knight, Gussy (Michael Angus) and Jake McLean throughout the year and kept an eye on Strikers’ results and when it became clearer that I was making my move back the Strikers was the first club I spoke to.

“I do have friends playing elsewhere, but when you get looked after and you play a great brand of football, you just ask yourself why would you go anywhere else,” he continued.

“The club wins trophies, which is very important, it has an excellent culture and a brand of football that I love to play. It was really a no-brainer from my side as well”.

While Clulow will add both spark and polish to the Strikers’ front line, behind him McGowan shapes as an ideal replacement for talented young centre half Jake Marshall, who joined NPL Victoria team South Melbourne during the off-season after two years partnering Greig Henslee at the heart of Strikers’ defence.

The former Redlands United player, who captained that club in its 2016 NPL Queensland Grand Final-winning season, will bring qualities rated by Large as extremely important in maintaining a defensive record second to none over the past two seasons.

“In losing Jake we obviously wanted to bolster that area of the park and when Michael became available I sat down and talked to him,” Large said.

“He brings different qualities than what Jake did, and obviously one of them is experience. With his experience he reads the game very well, he’s very influential in guiding the team around the park and technically he is more than competent.

“He has a long passing range, he also has a short passing range and he’s probably a complete unit in terms of that area of the park – and he’s a lot quicker than people give him credit for, too”.

McGowan said that information from a couple of Strikers players had been influential in his decision to join the club.

“Michael Lee is one of my good friends – he played with me at Redlands – so I had been speaking to him throughout last season and he told me how it was going,” McGowan said.

“Then towards the end of the season, when I was leaning towards coming back to Brisbane, Greig Henslee got in touch with me and was telling me that they (Strikers) needed a defender and then I spoke to Leesy (Lee) about it.

“He spoke very highly of the setup and training and everything, so that’s why (I came here)”.

Both Clulow and McGowan are eligible for selection in the Kappa Silver Boot pre-season tournament commencing on Monday and are expected to figure prominently in the Strikers’ campaign.

Photo: Michele Pitman

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