Former player’s A-League deal motivates Pride young guns
AS Western Pride's youthful players prepare for an epic Football Queensland Premier League clash in Ipswich, they can gain inspiration from a former teammate.
After being invited to trial with the Central Coast Mariners in 2018, Academy defender Dan Hall has been offered a senior contract for the 2020/21 A-League season.
His hard work, determination and talent has been rewarded after he was one of Pride's most exciting prospects in the National Premier Leagues competition.
With Fijian heritage, the former Ipswich Grammar School student has impressed key people at the A-League club.
As a depleted Pride side focuses on tackling second placed Logan at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night, head coach Andrew Catton said Hall's success could motivate other young players in this year's squad.
"He's a fantastic guy. He set a real good example,'' Catton said of Hall.
"Hopefully we can get a few more in that part of the world in a playing capacity in the future.''
Hall came through Pride's under-18 and under-20 program after joining the Ipswich club in 2015.
At one stage, Hall had played 94 games across the three NPL age groups, becoming a regular top side bench player in 2017.
As an Ipswich Grammar Master in Charge, Catton saw Hall's fine attributes when he never gave up leading a winless IGS First XI team during the 2016 season.
"It was a hard year for him when he was captain . . . his fighting qualities and his courage were always evident,'' Catton said.
Hall also made the run that resulted in the matchwinning free kick taken by Dylan Wenzel-Halls in Pride's historic 2017 NPL grand final triumph.
Coming on as a substitute, Hall made one of his threatening bursts, drawing a foul.
Wenzel-Halls seized on the free kick opportunity to score the dramatic winning goal late in the game against Moreton Bay United.
Wenzel-Halls was later signed by Brisbane Roar where he has become a regular A-League player.
Catton said 21-year-old Hall deserved his national league opportunity after showcasing his skills in the Y-League.
"He's a quality player,'' Catton said.
"He's gone down there and worked hard.''
Getting stronger in an A-League environment, Hall has been transformed from an attacking midfield/striker to defender.
Hall this year captained the Mariners NPL 1st Grade team and was a vital part of the side that won the Premiership, Championship and Club Championship.
He was named best on ground in the grand final where the Mariners beat Northern Tigers 6-2.
Other Pride players like Alex Parsons, Darryl Barton and Joshua Boyle have also had recent trials with the Mariners.
Goal-scoring ace Parsons is currently with the Brisbane Roar Youth team and trains with the A-League side.
Striker Barton and goalkeeper Boyle are being monitored by the Mariners.
With Western Pride securing a historic partnership deal with Everton FC, more talent-rich Ipswich footballers could in the future follow a similar path.
After last week's disappointing 4-1 local derby loss to the Ipswich Knights, Catton expects a better first-half effort against Logan on Saturday night.
After conceding four goals to the Knights before the break, Pride won the second half 1-0 last Friday night at Bundamba.
However, Catton said second half victories meant little if the team continued to start poorly.
"It's just frustrating. We just didn't turn up,'' the head coach said.
"I felt like some of our blokes probably got a little bit complacent.''
With only two games remaining for the seventh-place side, Catton hopes his team hit hard by injury can rally to finish the season on a high.
"I want a better effort,'' he said, knowing how much promise his young side has despite battling through a tough season.
FQPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Logan at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.