A-League player possible target for Ipswich team
POPULAR Western Pride defender Jacob "Bulla'' Minett concedes it will feel peculiar if he has to shut down former state league teammate Dylan Wenzel-Halls on Saturday night.
After scoring for Brisbane Roar Youth in last weekend's 6-2 loss to Magpies Crusaders, A-League recruit Wenzel-Halls could line up again in the clash against Pride at Logan.
"It will be a bit strange,'' Minett said. "I've played with him for 10 years.
"One positive we have is we know his game. So hopefully when he does get in those sort of situations where he looks dangerous, we can work together to stop his strengths.''
Whether Pride's top goal scorer Wenzel-Halls plays or not against his former club, Minett said his side would be ready for the unpredictable Roar youth combination.
"You don't know who they are going to play,'' he said.
"They've also got their own style of football. You've got to be aware of that.
"But after the experience we have now, we know how to handle that sort of style.''
Victory on Saturday night will keep Pride in second spot with matches against Redlands United and Brisbane City to come before the National Premier Leagues finals.
However, Minett is among a group of Pride players who could face a week's suspension if they get into more card trouble.
"We have to be careful, especially with finals just around the corner,'' Minett said.
Minett, 20, is preparing for his 14th game returning from hamstring and left ankle ligament injuries earlier this year.
He had to watch last year's historic state league grand final victory from the bench battling a hamstring injury.
But the former Lions junior and ex-Olympic NPL player's plight became even more challenging after he tore ankle ligaments on Pride's end of season tour to Japan.
That problem became worse when he further aggravated the injury in his first game of the new NPL season.
After months of hard work and rehabilitation, Minett worked his way back into the top side where he plays an important steadying influence in the midfield or back four.
"At the moment, I've got no pain, touch wood,'' he said, keen to enjoy finals football this season. "And it feels really good at training and all that.''
In his third season with Pride, former Australian Schoolboys representative Minett is enjoying the freedom coach Reg Davani is giving him moving forward or dropping back in dangerous situations.
But he sees his role as building team spirit rather than being an on-field leader.
"I don't like to be too loud,'' he said. "I'm probably more (involved) in terms of the social side . . organising things at the weekend and having a bit of a laugh with the boys.
"That's probably more my side of the leadership role.''
Given some key player losses in recent weeks, that trait has been particularly valuable.
"We've had a tough year but we've got over that little rocky stage we had a couple of weeks ago,'' he said. "We've settled and slowly we're getting back to top form coming into the finals, which is what we want.''
Minett said it was pleasing to see young players like Alex Parsons, Josh Wilson, Mitch Herrmann and latest debutant Wilfrid Phillip receiving senior team opportunities.
And he was delighted he switched to Pride in 2016.
"I love Pride. I love the culture, everyone at the club,'' he said.
"It's going in a good direction. It's growing really quickly and I think it's got a bright future.''
The Western Pride women head to Heath Park to play Easts on Saturday, fresh from an encouraging 3-1 win over Mitchelton.
NPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Brisbane Roar Youth at Logan.
NPL women: Saturday (6pm) - Western Pride v Easts at Heath Park.