Western Pride footballer Nathan Yoon tries to escape the slide of South West Queensland defender Brenton Pennells during a pre-season trial in Toowoomba. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Western Pride footballer Nathan Yoon tries to escape the slide of South West Queensland defender Brenton Pennells during a pre-season trial in Toowoomba. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Fast, young and fit Pride side set to step up

LIKE many coaches in recent weeks, Western Pride mentor Andrew Catton has been frustrated by the weather.

While all the rain has been welcome, it has made it difficult to schedule regular pre-season football trials. Games against teams like Logan, Ipswich Knights and Brisbane Roar were lost.

"It's been pretty wet. Unfortunately we have not had a lot of time on the field recently,'' Catton said.

However, Catton is keen to see how his "young and quick'' Pride combination progresses in the Queensland Premier League competition starting this weekend.

"It (the QPL) will be very competitive,'' Catton said, having seen lots of games in recent seasons.

"It will be a different brand of football to what some of them are used to playing in the NPL (National Premier Leagues) because it's probably going to be a little more direct, which is fine.

"I think the standard will be reasonably high and I think we're going to have to work real hard if we want to achieve anything this year.''

Due to the weather, his team has been doing a lot of fitness and flexibility work, having an internal session last weekend "that was a good little hit-out for us''.

Pride has an 4pm away game on Sunday against Sunshine Coast Fire, another team demoted from last year's National Premier Leagues competition.

 

Western Pride head coach Andrew Catton. Picture: Rob Williams
Western Pride head coach Andrew Catton. Picture: Rob Williams

 

After facing some tough opponents in the Silver Boot competition, Catton said his team would rely on experienced players like Nielen Brown, Adam Sawyer and Killian Flavin to set an early tempo.

They'll work with Pride regulars from the past few seasons including Maynard Connor, Aidan Norris, Killian Flavin, Jacob Advaney, Matt Haspels and Griffin Trevett-Lyall.

Tom Reynolds is likely to start in goals, having come from the Holland Park Hawks.

Among other newcomers are Japanese attacker Ryu Yonezawa, who has experience in the Queensland and Tasmanian NPL.

"He was their player of the year down there so he's going to be a really good pick-up for us so I'm excited to see what he can do,'' the Pride head coach said.

Catton expects some selection headaches in coming weeks.

"They are all going to play at some point or another, which is good,'' he said.

Catton will be assisted by the knowledgeable Brian Hastings and loyal manager Darryl Christensen, who has been with the Ipswich club since it was formed in 2013.

The Western Pride QPL squad is: goalkeepers Tom Reynolds and Tom Lynch; defenders Connor Maynard, Alex Sargent, Aidan Norris, Rhys Webster, Ben Piper, Griffin Trevett-Lyall and Ryu Yonezawa; midfielders Killian Flavin, Adam Sawyer, Nielen Brown, Will Orford and Matt Haspels; attackers Jacob Advaney, Franco Aceto, Jackson Bray, Yuta Hirayama and Nathan Yoon; George Freeman is an attacker/defender.

Coach: Andrew Catton. U20 assistant: Brian Hastings. Manager: Darryl Christensen. Strength and conditioning: Jacob Pearce.