Henslee Ignores League Table As Fire Test Looms

Jul 22, 2016 by

Brisbane Strikers centre half Greig Henslee says his teammates should take nothing for granted as they continue their push to reach the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland summit with a tricky away game against his old club, Sunshine Coast FC Fire this Sunday.

Strikers have taken thirteen points from a block of six games after the second season reached its half way point Strikers with wins over Brisbane Roar FC Youth, Gold Coast City, SWQ Thunder and Redlands United and a draw with Moreton Bay United. Those points have enabled Henslee’s team close to within one point of league leaders FNQFC Heat.

Heat excepted, the league table positions of the rest of the teams in the Strikers’ run home seems a little less fearsome than what they’ve just encountered. But Henslee said they could ill afford to take any of their remaining opponents – least of all Fire – lightly.

“The first six or seven games of each round, when you look at the league table, look to be the toughest ones,” said Henslee this week in recalling his team’s season draw.

“But looking at the league table two weeks ago we were playing Olympic FC in what looked like a routine home victory. But the whole league knows the run of form Olympic were on and that was a bit of a sore slip-up for us.

“The same again this weekend – you look at the league table and it looks like it should be a fairly routine victory, but I think we are all pretty aware of the run of form that the Fire have been on of late.

“So again, I don’t think the league table is telling the true story at the moment and it’s going to be a massive game”.

Henslee, who still resides on the Sunshine Coast, is well informed about Fire’s recent form. They have won their last three games – against Roar Youth, Brisbane City and Redlands United – and are now a much stronger force than when coach Sam Saif took over just before on the 2016 season kicked off.

Such has been the recent under-the-radar improvement shown by Fire that Henslee believes their ambitions of finals football have been rekindled.

“They’re in that sort of position at the moment where they are not really expected to make the finals by those on the outside. But I think that within the camp it’s something that they’re still aiming for,” Henslee said.

“They are just going out there and doing their best when the pressure is off and they are a dangerous team to play at the moment”.

Henslee says Fire’s improved form has been engineered by Saif, who has turned the team around through a combination of new recruits and imposing the no-nonsense brand of football he is renowned for.

“He’s come in to do a job and if you look over the course of a season he’s done a good job there’” Henslee said.

“He’s signed a few of his boys that he’s had in the past and there are a few travelling from Brisbane now, which is something that the Sunshine Coast has never done before. They’ve generally went with a few imports and the local boys. But obviously it seems to be working for them”.

Henslee clearly respects Sunday’s opposition. But he also said he was highly optimistic about what his own team can still achieve. Despite Strikers’ consistency this season, like other senior players in the team he believes their best form was still ahead.

“Every single week that we go out I’m so confident,” Henslee said.

“I think that – and this is the frustrating thing – even the games (in which) we’ve dropped points in the season, we’ve completely dominated. It’s a scary thing for the league this season and for many seasons to come. I still believe that we’re not reaching our full potential.

“I feel that we’re absolutely dominating games, but two-nil wins that we’re getting, I believe, should be four or five-nil. And one-goal defeats that we’re having should be two-one wins.

“We are a young team and there’s no doubt in my mind that we are the best team in the league. But obviously we have to go out there and show that and, at the end of the season, come away with the points.

“That obviously starts with a really tough, physical game away to Sunshine Coast this weekend”.

Kick-off at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday will be at 2.00 pm.

Photo: Michele Pitman

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