Footy banter: Plenty of Spirit in derby duel
FEARLESS Western Spirit goalkeeper Chris Morrall enjoyed giving the Ipswich City Bulls heaps over Friday night's washout at Brassall.
The local derby rivals were due to open their Capital League 1 season at Sutton Park before Ipswich City Council ordered the closure of the field due to all the rain.
However, that didn't stop mild-mannered Morrall reminding the Bulls about last year's season-ending football derby.
That match was called off with both teams out of the finals' hunt and being unable to agree on playing conditions.
"I had a bit of banter with Norbert (Bulls head coach Norbert Duga) over that,'' Morrall said.
"He had a crack at me last year for our game getting called off due to wet weather so I returned the favour. We had pretty much the same amount of rain.''
Duga laughed off Morrall's light-hearted exchange, being as keen as anyone to play on Friday night.
Duga held out hopes the game would continue until the Council edict was delivered to protect Sutton Park from damage.
However, the Morrall-Duga exchange sets the scene for more terrific local derbies this season.
Morrrall said Western Spirit had been more cautious in pre-season training after suffering a horrific injury toll last year. Spirit finished mid-table with 33 points from 10 wins and three draws.
"Last year we had five or six season-ending injuries in March,'' Morrall said.
"That had a big impact on the season.
"We want to focus on not injuring players as much as last year.''
After guarding the net in Spirit's top side last year, Morrall is concentrating on coaching the club's "brand new'' Reserve grade outfit after retiring from the first team last year. He'll have a run with the Reserves and only play in head coach Matt Raub's top team if needed.
Morrall was happy to see former Queensland schoolboys representative Jack Fuller back in goals for the top side.
"He's done really well in the pre-season,'' Morrall said.
"He is probably one of the best goalkeepers at his age.
"A lot of teams are going to find him hard to go against this season and in coming years, especially with our backline.''
Morrall is encouraged to see Spirit fielding a stronger defensive formation featuring centre back Michael Wybranowski, Shane Carr, Chris Gayle and Brendan Ashcroft.
Wybranowski is a natural leader. Carr is a powerful defender. Gayle has lots of experience. Ashcroft is a loyal Spirit clubman.
New striker Tom Webster, from Moggill, will have an important role after Spirit lost captain Mauricio Arena (metro team) and regular goal scorer Dylan Goodman (year off) in the off-season.
Western Spirit's next CL1 match is against Moggill at Kippen Park on Sunday.
He expects healthy opposition from teams like Caboolture, St George Willawong, the Bulls, Annerley and North Pine.
Western Spirit are also preparing for their next FFA Cup knockout competition match against Annerley on March 7.
Spirit advanced to the second round after beating Logan Village 5-1 at Kippen Park on February 17.
Surveying Spirit's home field after weekend rain, Morrall was suitably impressed. "The field is looking absolutely perfect,'' he said.
Meanwhile, the Ipswich City Bulls are also anxious to get on the field after Friday night's washout.
The Bulls are scheduled to play Park Ridge at their Sutton Park headquarters tomorrow night.
Bulls coach Duga said a decision on that game going ahead would be made tomorrow morning.
The winner of that match will play Football Brisbane Premier League side Bayside United.
The Bulls' next CL1 game is against New Farm United away on Sunday.
Western Pride's NPL trip to Mackay was postponed late on Friday. That match will be rescheduled.
FFA Cup matches: Tuesday (7.30pm, weather permitting) - Ipswich City Bulls v Park Ridge at Sutton Park, Brassall.
March 7: Western Spirit v Annerley at Elder Oval.