Strikers Primed For Must-Win Derby

Jun 22, 2017 by

Brisbane Strikers centre half Greig Henslee is backing the Strikers’ proven ability to bounce back from disappointment, and their desperation for three points to keep their premiership defence alive, to carry them to victory over local rivals Brisbane City at Perry Park on Saturday.

Henslee (pictured) admitted he and his team mates were gutted at dropping two points in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with FNQFC Heat after leading 1-0 going into the ninetieth minute of the game – a result in circumstances similar to their previous home game when Western Pride also held them 2-2.

However, he said the response within the squad at training early this week gave him confidence Strikers were ready to produce their best against City.

“You can’t sugar-coat what’s happened the last few weeks – it’s bitterly disappointing,” Henslee said. “It’s obviously not helping us on the league table and at the same time it’s not really helping us mentally either.
“But one thing is for sure. We’ve proven over the years that whenever we have put in an indifferent performance or suffered some sort of tough game like that, the reaction has always been top-notch.

“And that was no different at Tuesday night at training. I know it sounds like such a cliché when you hear people say that, but as tough as it is to say, I think sometimes it takes these little things just to really shake you back into gear and make you realise that you really do have to earn your points.

“Obviously there is disappointment there, but if we can use the disappointment to go on a four or five game winning spree then I guess it might not be all bad”.

The two points dropped against Heat left Strikers, although still in second place on the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland ladder, five points behind leaders Gold Coast City FC. The realist in Henslee is already doing the maths – and realising that a four-or-five game winning run is not only desirable, but more or less essential if Strikers are to achieve their ambition of winning consecutive premierships.

Henslee said it had to start on Saturday against fifth-placed City, who themselves desperately need points to maintain their challenge for the top four – or even an outside chance at the premiership.

“We find ourselves in a position now where we’re really desperate to put on a real run,” he said. “From here on in I think we’re really going to need seven wins and a draw, at least, to come away with a premiership.

“We have a massive couple of home games coming up (Gold Coast City visit Perry Park the following weekend) and, to be fair, our home record has been great over the last three years – we’ve only lost two home league games in three years.

“While we feel like we’re in a sticky situation, we’ve won seven and drawn two from our last nine in the league. So we do have a lot to be optimistic about, and there is a lot that we are optimistic about. The dressing room is in great shape. There’s no finger pointing and we’re all a hundred percent behind each other and a hundred percent behind the coaching staff and the background staff.

“I think that when you have that, with the players that we have, you know you’re never going to be too far away”.

The last time Strikers and City met was in Round 4, when Strikers prevailed 2-1 in a feisty encounter after leading 2-0 at half time through a Michael Lee brace. The game left Henslee with a strong appreciation for City’s abilities.

“That was a really tough game. It was quite combative in the middle of the midfield,” he said.

“In my opinion they’re a much-improved side on the year before, which is what you’d expect with (coach) John Kosmina being there and having a year to get to grips with the league and the players,” he said.

“They’re a well-coached side and young, quick, direct. They’ve beaten some decent teams this year up in the top half of the table and we all know how much the Brisbane teams like to put one over on Brisbane Strikers.

“But there’s nothing that Brisbane City have that we don’t know about. We know all the players and we know how they play”.

While the Brisbane Strikers v Brisbane City fixture is billed as a local derby (as indeed it should be, given the two clubs’ home grounds are less than three kilometres apart) results over five seasons of PlayStation 4 NPL competition between them have defied the trend for derbies to be even-money propositions.

City have notched only one win in nine attempts, with Strikers winning six while the other two matches were drawn.

City would no doubt dearly love to improve upon those statistics on Saturday – an outcome Strikers simply cannot afford as they strive to keep their quest for a second premiership on track.

The battle lines are drawn for another epic struggle at Perry Park.

Brisbane Strikers v Brisbane City – Statistics

Brisbane Strikers

Last five NPL Queensland results
Brisbane Strikers 2 v FNQFC Heat 2
Moreton Bay United 0 v Strikers 1
Strikers 2 v Western Pride 2
Strikers 3 v Brisbane Olympic 1
Brisbane Roar Youth 0 v Strikers 5
(3 wins, 2 draws)

Home record in 2017: 5 wins, 0 losses, 2 draws (30 goals scored, 6 conceded)

Top 3 scorers:
Jeremy Stewart (11 goals from 13 games)
Greg Cheshire (8 from 13)
Michael Lee (7 from 13)

Brisbane City

Last five NPL Queensland results
Northern Fury 1 v Brisbane City 4
Brisbane City 2 v Gold Coast City 3
SWQ Thunder 1 v Brisbane City 0
Sunshine Coast FC Fire 0 v Brisbane City 3
Moreton Bay United 2 v Brisbane City 3
(3 wins, 2 losses)

Away record in 2017: 3 wins, 3 losses, no draws (13 goals scored, 9 conceded)

Top 3 scorers:
Carter Glockner (9 goals from 14 games),
Simon Biel (5 from 11),
Nathan Bird (4 from 14)

Brisbane Strikers v Brisbane City head-to-head in PS4 NPL Queensland: Strikers 6 wins, City 1 win, 2 draws
At Perry Park: Strikers 3 wins, 1 draw

*All 2017 statistics obtained from the PS4 National Premier Leagues website.

PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Round 15 – Brisbane Strikers FC v Brisbane City, Perry Park, 24 June 2017, kick-off at 6.00 pm

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