The opportunity to showcase your team, club and state, to test yourself against guaranteed top quality opposition and compete for a prestigious national trophy.
Those are the primary motivational factors wrapped up in the upcoming PlayStation 4 NPL Finals Series for Brisbane Strikers midfielders Michael Angus and Jake McLean as they look ahead to Saturday’s Elimination Final against Australian Capital Territory club Canberra Olympic FC.
For Angus (pictured), in his second season as captain of Strikers, the dream of lifting a trophy that would see his club recognized as second tier champions of Australia was uppermost as he contemplated the task of winning three knock-out games, starting with Olympic.
“Our objective is to go out and see if we can go all the way in the competition,” Angus said.
“We see it as a really important thing. If we could go through and be crowned NPL champions of the country that would be some title to have. The club is always looking to get ourselves on the biggest stage that we possibly can, so we’ll be looking to do that”.
But not far behind this in terms of getting Angus’s adrenalin flowing was the prospect of facing the best opposition from other states.
“That’s what it’s about, isn’t it?,” he said. “You know you are going to be coming up against top quality sides, being the competition that it is, with the premiers in each NPL competition in each State.
“You are going to be up against some great players at that level and that’s really, really exciting and a great opportunity. And any opportunity where we can go and test ourselves as players and as a club we’ll take with both hands”.
McLean said he was looking forward to carrying Queensland’s hopes into the national play-offs and that it was not a responsibility he would take lightly.
“There is a bit of state rivalry in Australia. We just want to show that we didn’t win our league for a joke and that Queensland’s is not an easy league,” McLean said.
“We can definitely compete with the best teams around the country – that’s what we want to show on Saturday”.
The opportunity to return with his club to the national stage less than a month after the disappointment of losing 2-1 to Hyundai A-League club Melbourne City in the Westfield FFA Cup also had McLean fired up.
“It was a bit disappointing not to beat Melbourne City but we took a lot of confidence from the game in our ability,” he said.
“We are definitely excited for the weekend to show that we are a bit better than we showed against Melbourne City and that we can definitely perform on the national stage”
McLean already has experience in the PlayStation 4 NPL Finals Series, having been in the Oympic FC (Brisbane) team in 2013 when they lost to New South Wales club Sydney United 58 FC – who are again in the mix this year.
He had strong memories of that game and said it left him with a sense of what to expect this time around with Strikers.
“All these games are going to be like a cup final,” he said.
“Everyone is up for it and everyone is at the end of their season. It will definitely be an intense game and we are going to have to be switched on for the whole ninety minutes”.