288 days of hard work pays off for footballers
AS a fine young leader with Western Pride from the club's humble start, Jarrod Hyslop deserved his latest achievement.
He is captain of the Pride under-18 side that upstaged Brisbane Roar 2-0 on Saturday to qualify for this weekend's National Premier Leagues grand final.
Although Ipswich-bred Hyslop shared in the club's historic first under-18 premiership success last year, the team didn't play finals.
However with an under-18 final series added this year, Hyslop and his tenacious teammates can go a step further in the club's tremendous development.
Having finished the 2018 regular season in third, Pride tackle competition leaders Brisbane City for a shot at grand final glory.
"It's been awesome,'' Hyslop after Saturday's gritty win at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
"A good effort by the boys. It's 288 days of hard work and it's got us there.''
Pride led Saturday's knockout semi-final 2-0 at halftime through goals by Griffin Trevett-Lyall and Damian Videla.
However, it was how Western Pride survived the early Brisbane Roar onslaught and late charge that was most impressive.
Led by tidy goalkeeper Daniel Cupac, the Pride defence held strong in blustery conditions against a team with some of Queensland's most exciting teenage players.
"It was real tough,'' Hyslop, 17, said.
"It's always good to play them, as they have got an A-League team.
"It was a good result for us.''
In a team rich in promise, former Ipswich Grammar School student Hyslop is a worthy captain.
He has been with Pride since its inaugural season in 2013 when he first played in the under-12 side.
"This is my first finals series. This is a pretty special moment making the finals with the boys,'' Hyslop said.
Like Hyslop, second goal scorer Videla has been with Western Pride since U12s back in 2013.
The only dampener for Hyslop on Saturday was having to leave the field midway through the second half after copping a knock to his left leg. However, he praised his teammates for their incredible commitment, having to absorb some tremendous pressure against a skilful opponent that finished a place higher this season.
"I had to spend the last 20 minutes off unfortunately but the boys really carried on,'' he said.
Hyslop said everyone played for each other and the club, rather than getting caught up in egos.
"It's a good group overall - 18s, 20s and first team,'' Hyslop said.
"The coaching is really good. Jordie (Manning) leads us really well.''
Brisbane City beat South Queensland 3-2 in the other semi-final to secure a grand final meeting with Western Pride.