The Brisbane Strikers have moved to bolster their 2017 PlayStation 4 NPL campaign by signing three new players to their senior squad.
Former Brisbane Olympic defender-midfielder Darren Gray, former Partick Thistle and FNQFC Heat utility player Ethan Docherty and former Gold Coast City Under-20s forward Fraser Eller have joined a senior squad thinned in recent weeks by long term injuries to Rhys Meredith and Zayd Dennis and the departure of Chris Maher to Brisbane Premier League outfit Souths United.
Gray, 30, and Docherty, 19, are returning to football after injury layoffs of their own and have been training with Strikers for several weeks. Eller, 17, was last in action for Gold Coast City’s Under-20s team – ironically scoring against Brisbane Strikers – a little over a week ago.
Head coach Sean Lane has no doubts that all three players will add formidable extra talent to his squad and add to the competition for spots in the starting eleven.
“Almost every club Darren Gray has been at, he’s won something,” Lane said. “He’s aggressive, he’s a winner and it doesn’t matter what it is – if it’s a five-a-side or a game – he’s just got that steely glint in his eye and you know that he wants to win everything that he can.”
“The other thing that he has is that he’s been really good around the younger players, guiding them through what they should be doing, encouraging them when they’ve done well and giving them a bit of stick when they need to do better.
“He fits into that senior side of the setup and he brings a level of experience that’s hard to find”.
Docherty, although still in his teens, has already experienced the highs and lows of the game. He came through Heat’s youth system and had several seasons with their senior team before his talent earned him a contract with Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle. However, when he sustained an ACL injury, the Jags released him to come back to Australia and rehabilitate. Having done so, Docherty decided to come south to Brisbane to continue his career.
“He wanted to come to an NPL club outside of his home base and he had offers in Melbourne, in Sydney and from us,” Lane said.
“He’s a young man who’s played plenty of NPL games already and he can also play in a multitude of positions across the back four or in midfield. He’s a good, young, quick player who’s had a lot of experience at a young age …. he’s an important signing”
Eller is yet to establish himself at senior team level, having made only four appearances for Gold Coast City’s senior team last year. But he already has a senior team goal to his credit from those four opportunities – a statistic that does not surprise Lane, who has been acquainted with the youngster for several seasons.
“He’s been the top goal scorer in the NPL in the Under-18s and Under-20s for the last two or three years. He’s quick, strong, powerful and has an eye for goal. He’ll be pushing for a first team spot this year but he is very much part of what the Strikers are building for the future and I’m delighted to have him here”, Lane concluded.
Photo (left to right): Ethan Docherty, Darren Gray and Fraser Eller get the feel of their new playing strip before training at Perry Park last night.