Bulls 'workhorse' inspiring team
NIKKI Cox hates feeling like she has let her team down.
Which is why when Ipswich City Bulls coach Ian Carson subbed Cox off at half time of their 5-0 Brisbane Premier League win over Pine Hills at the weekend, Cox was visibly disappointed.
"Nikki had been off work, she was sick all week,” Carson said.
"She didn't train Tuesday, had a light run on Thursday and said she was keen to go. But I had to take her off at half time, you could just tell she wasn't feeling right.”
Carson said as an uber-fit athlete, Cox - just like Icarus - perhaps flew too close to the sun, and it left her susceptible to illness.
"Sometimes those super fit people are on the edge of getting sick, and I think that's what happened with Nikki,” the Bulls coach said.
"She's such a passionate person. Her whole life revolves around fitness and success. That's just what she breeds.”
"I was so upset at half time,” Cox added.
"I was torn between wanting to play and maybe not playing my best, but also afraid of not playing.
"I tried to take it easy, but I just couldn't do it. Everyone wants to give their best, and me especially I would hate to feel like I'm letting someone down.
"(But) if one person comes off, we know there's someone equally as strong ready to come on and take their spot.”
Cox found the back of the net an astonishing 44 times in Capital League 1 last season, winning the competition's golden boot by a considerable margin.
With Teagan Gordon now the focal point of the Bulls attack, and the likes of Lailey Hunt and captain Shani Wilton both regular contributors to the scoresheet, the team now relies less on Cox's prolific scoring to win matches.
"I'm actually out on the wing now, helping set-up goals which is really fun,” Cox said.
"It's a completely different position to last year. I'm enjoying a new set of challenges. I had to adjust to it at first, but I'm really loving it now.
"We've got so much talent across the park now, we can score from anywhere. Even our backline have been scoring.”
Despite Cox's considerable dedication to training and team-first mentality, Carson said there was no need for her to set the standard.
Every player at the Bulls works equally as hard at honing their craft.
"They all work really hard, nobody slackens off,” the coach said.
"All of their positions are up for grabs each week, and they know that.
"I get 15 players there every night, only work can keep them away.
"I wish half the men's teams I coached were as committed.”