Break at last for footballers: Just don't get sloppy
AFTER an unbelievably long season pushing into mid November, Ipswich Knights head coach Andy Ogden is happy to guide his team again next season.
However, under his watch, the 2021 Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) pre-season won't start until January.
Under normal season conditions, the players would be starting to do some early fitness work now in the lead-up to the Christmas shutdown.
However, preparing for the Knights final game against Southside Eagles on Saturday night, Ogden was eager to get his players away after chatting to them individually.
"They need a break,'' the experienced Ipswich coach said. "Even at our level.
"To spend some quality time with your family and that because it's a commitment to play.''
Despite the Knights being out of finals' contention, Ogden was encouraged by his players' attitudes preparing for the last game.
"We actually had a good week. Reasonable intensity,'' Ogden said.
"We don't want to go and lose against Eagles by being sloppy or complacent.
"It's not going to make any difference to what we do season wise but you've got to have pride in what you're doing.
"It's a good start for next year.''
The Knights are playing at Perry Park, the home of National Premier League club the Brisbane Strikers and Queensland's long-time football headquarters.
"We're actually looking forward to it because it's a big pitch,'' Ogden said.
"It's flat and if we stay focused and do the job we should hopefully get a positive result.''
Ogden is eager to continue his head coaching role in 2021, having achieved some fine player development work in recent years.
His assistant and teacher Lucas Wilson is still deciding with his school commitments and young family.
Under 20 coach Bob Maclot is also keen to stay.
Under 18 coach Adam Maunder will focus more on a technical director role in 2021.
After a rare 7-0 loss to promotion favourites Logan last weekend, Western Pride are also playing for pride in their final game on Saturday night.
The injury-depleted Pride side travels to Wakerley Park to tackle Souths United.
As for who will win the league, Ogden tipped it weeks ago that South West Thunder and Logan would fight it out for honours.
With Thunder having completed their games, Logan can leapfrog Thunder into the promotion position if they beat Mitchelton on Sunday.
FQPL: Saturday (6pm) - Ipswich Knights v Southside Eagles at Perry Park.
Saturday (6.30pm): Western Pride v Souths United at Wakerley Park.