Dual Mecca Bah Winner McLean Outlines Recipe For Cup Qualifier Success

May 03, 2018 by

Our Mecca Bah Man of the Match for Round 12, midfielder Jake McLean, reckons there is only one way the Brisbane Strikers should contemplate starting their FFA Cup qualifier away to The Lakes on Saturday – and that is at full tilt!

McLean (pictured) took out his second Mecca Bah-sponsored man of the match award of the season for his efforts in last weekend’s 4-1 NPL Queensland win over North Queensland United. And this week he said a fully-committed start against their seventh-tier opponents on Saturday was the best way for Strikers to avoid becoming the next Cup victim of a team that has already bulldozed the hopes of several teams from higher leagues on its way to the fifth round qualifiers.

“You’ve just got to go at a hundred percent, straight from the gates,” said McLean, “and try to get an early goal.

“A lot of times when you are ‘versing’ an underdog, an early goal will take the wind out of their sails. But if you let them in the game, the longer they are in it and the more chances they get, their confidence builds.

“I’m sure they’ll get a bit of a crowd there cheering them on. So we just need to switch on early, go a hundred percent from the start, get some early goals and just see it out.”

The task for The Lakes on Saturday, at least on paper, is a Herculean one given they will be playing the defending premiers from a league five tiers above theirs.

But a competition that cuts as deep into the Australian football landscape as the FFA Cup can provide players with the opportunity to be both David and Goliath within the one competition. So McLean, who was in the Strikers’ team that lost 2-1 to Hyundai A-League club Melbourne City in the competition’s Round of 16 two years ago, knows exactly how to put himself in the boots of the underdog.

“I imagine they’ll be buzzing to play a big team and I’m sure they’ve got a few players who fancy themselves able to play a few leagues higher,” McLean said.

“There’s no better place to show your ability than against a team that you’re not expected to beat. They’ve got nothing to lose, so I expect them all to be buzzing and there’ll definitely be a few of their players looking to take a big scalp”.

Strikers will go into the game at Kinsellas Park 1 at North Lakes in tremendous form, looking for their tenth successive victory in all competitions.
McLean said he was reasonably happy with his own form and fitness after being restored to the Strikers’ starting eleven after missing a couple of games.

“You can always play better, but I was pretty happy overall with how I played,” McLean said of his efforts against North Queensland last weekend.

“It was just a bit disappointing that we were a bit complacent and we didn’t switch on for the ninety minutes and conceded a goal. But overall, it was good and it was something to build on for this weekend.

“I’m feeling great. I felt a bit flat in the Olympic game, but I feel back to my full fitness now so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

McLean is the first dual winner of the Mecca Bah Man of the Match Award, which entitles its winner to a dinner for two at the sponsor’s restaurants in either Fortitude Valley or Runaway Bay. He was also voted the winner in Round 1 and he said his popularity in the Strikers’ dressing room was rising as a result of the sponsor’s prize.

“A few of the lads are being a bit nicer than usual, trying to be my dinner date, but we’ll see who’s lucky enough to get picked,” he said.

Whoever the lucky player turns out to be, they are likely to be left at the starting blocks by McLean when it comes to choosing something off the menu.

“I had the ribs last time, and they were amazing – so I think I’ll just get them again,” McLean said.

Kick-off at Kinsellas Park, North Lakes on Saturday is scheduled for 6.00 pm.

Photo: Roze Gallo

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