Football: It’s Time!

Mar 15, 2018 by

It’s official: the Brisbane Strikers are desperate for a game of football!

That’s the word this week from Brisbane Strikers Football Manager David Large, who said his players, having sat out two of the last three weekends because of rained-off fixtures, are just itching to get back on to Perry Park for their NPL Round 7 fixture against Brisbane Roar Youth on Saturday evening.

“The boys have been a bit frustrated that they didn’t get a game in after getting a win,” said Large, reflecting on the postponement of last weekend’s game away to Cairns FC after Strikers had claimed their first three-pointer of the season with a 4-2 victory over Gold Coast United in Round 5.

“It took us a while to hit our straps, obviously. Then, when you get the win and you’re looking for that momentum and to put three or four wins together just to get yourself back on track – and then you get hit with a postponement – it’s just frustrating”.

But Large said that, disappointment notwithstanding, his players had shown admirable enthusiasm in training.

“They’ve taken it really well and as a management team we’ve stayed positive and we’ve upped the ante a little bit (in training) and the players have responded brilliantly,” Large said. “They’ve been fantastic, if I’m being really honest.

“We are still, at this point, doing our best to get as fit as we possibly can. The players know where they are – they know they are not one hundred percent fit and every time we go out on the training paddock we work hard and it’s getting better and better.

“We are ready for a game. We need a game this weekend because we’ve worked so hard to get over this disappointment of the hump of postponed fixtures and bounced back really well.”

Strikers will need to have put in those hard yards at training because on Saturday they will face a fit and exuberant Brisbane Roar Youth outfit who have made a very strong start to their season.

Roar Youth have won four and drawn one of their six matches to be currently positioned third on the NPL Queensland ladder on thirteen points, while Strikers have just four points from four games.

Large said that he and senior coach Owen Baker had scouted Roar Youth last weekend and prepared a game plan that will be imparted to their players at training tonight.

“They are very well organized and very fit and they’ve got a few boys that can hurt you if you let them,” Large said.

“In the past they’ve always been a technically good side that can move a ball around well, and if you let them do that and have the opportunity, they will take it and they’ll hurt you. We’ve got to be on the ball.”

In a literal sense, getting on the ball is what both teams will be aiming on Saturday, with both Strikers and Roar priding themselves on playing a possession-based brand of football. On previous occasions, Strikers superior physical strength has usually given them an edge.

But Large said he was not certain that would apply to the same extent on Saturday.

“In the past we’ve probably been a little bit tougher and stronger and we’ve got on top of the younger boys, but this year they’ve grown a few muscles and they’re up for it,” Large said.

“We watched them against Brisbane City and they certainly took it to City and they’ll probably try to do the same against us. I’m looking forward to it.”

One factor that Large said might give Strikers an edge this time, however, was his squad’s return to near full strength.

Players such as Jeromy Stewart, Trent Clulow (pictured) and Brock Messenger, who have played little or no part in the first month of Strikers’ 2018 campaign, are now sufficiently recovered from injury to train fully and come into the reckoning for selection, if not from the start then at least from the bench.

“We’ve got some really, really good young kids. We’ve nurtured them over a period of time and even as recent as this week we’ve been really appreciating the strength of our kids,” said Large.

“But nothing beats that been there, done that sort of experience and being able to have everybody up and available. It’s certainly going to strengthen us. We should be able to tactically be a little bit more comfortable when we do make changes, and our game management should be easier”.

National Premier Leagues Queensland, Round 7: Brisbane Strikers v Brisbane Roar FC Youth, Saturday 17 March, Perry Park. Kick-off at 6.00 pm

Photo: Michele Pitman

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