Strikers’ “Mr Consistency” to Notch Milestone Against Fire

Aug 03, 2018 by

For Brisbane Strikers fullback Sam Knight, this Saturday’s fixture against Sunshine Coast FC Fire will mark a personal milestone – his one-hundredth game for Strikers.

That Knight, who turns 30 later this month, has taken just four seasons to reach that milestone is testimony to his consistent form and physical resilience. And in a strange twist of fate, the milestone will be reached against the club for which he previously played more than a hundred games.

Knight said this week that notching a century of games for Strikers would have been inconceivable for him when he was still a Fire player.

“There was a time when I was at the Fire when I probably swore that I’d never play for the Strikers,” Knight said this week.

“But now I’ve got no idea why. It’s a great club”.

Knight said his anti-Strikers sentiment early in his football career was a by-product of emerging into senior football at a time when Strikers and Fire were involved in a fierce rivalry, trading premierships and regularly contesting Grand Finals against each other in the Queensland State League (the forerunner to the NPL Queensland competition).

“It was always a bit of a spectacle when that fixture came across the calendar, so I guess that was probably the main reason – that the rivalry was so good,” Knight recalled.

“It was borderline hatred towards each other! But it’s all healthy – you’ve got to have rivalries like that. It makes it entertaining.”

Knight said, had he been given the choice, he would not necessarily have chosen to chalk up his Strikers milestone against his old club.

“It’s just a massive coincidence, more than anything, that it’s come against the Fire,” said Knight.

“They obviously gave me my chance at senior State football and I’m very grateful to them. But I’m also very grateful to the Strikers for taking me on board those four years ago.”

The intensity of the rivalry between Strikers and Fire has dimmed since the QSL days. While Strikers have won two NPL Queensland premierships and missed out on a third (in 2015) by a whisker, Fire’s fortunes have plummeted and fixtures between the two have seen results lopsidedly in Strikers’ favour. Strikers have lost only once to Fire in NPL competition – at Kawana in 2013 – and have won the other ten fixtures, often by big margins.

Fire took the NPL Queensland wooden spoon last season and look like going back-to-back. Not only that, with relegation applying to NPL Queensland for the first time this year, there is a poignant edge to this weekend’s clash between the clubs that is not all due to Knight’s personal milestone.

A win to Strikers would confirm Fire’s relegation to the Football Queensland Premier League.

And make no mistake about it, Strikers are not in the mood for clemency towards their old foes. According to Knight, having put a sequence of two wins and a draw together, Strikers want to make every post a winner as the 2018 season counts down its last four rounds.

“We only took a point from last week, but hopefully we are starting to get a bit of momentum going into the back end of the season and we can finish on a positive note,” Knight said.

“I think we are all feeling good and some of the young lads that have come in have given us that bit more energy in the legs and enthusiasm up top.

“I would say we are probably not in the best place we’ve been in, but we’re still in a good place right now and I think we’re still going to go out and hurt teams.

“Being the club that we are, we should be settling for no less than three points from every fixture going into the back end of the season. I think everyone’s in the same boat and wants to achieve that.”

And if his teammates are looking for someone who exemplifies the consistency they need collectively to find, they need to look no further than the man wearing their number 13 shirt.

When asked the secret behind his own consistency, Knight answered with the following:

“Gee, that’s a tough one. I’d say it’s just to make sure that you’re giving an honest performance week in, week out. All those years ago, back at the Fire, we were quite successful in winning a lot of trophies and I’d say it almost became quite addictive – I wanted to make sure that I was winning more.

“So I guess you could say that’s what drives me to stay fit and be successful.”

While Strikers look likely to miss out on finals football for the first time since the 2002/03 National Soccer League season, Knight said his determination to produce nothing less than his best would not be diminished.

“Everyone can rest assured that every time that I cross that line they’re only going to be getting a hundred percent. I’m always going to give an honest performance,” Knight vowed.

Photo: Mitch Pitman

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