Spirit sets strong foundation for success
EXPERIENCED regional coach Billy Livingstone knows his Western Spirit colleague had hoped to gain promotion this season.
That's the high standards Spirit head coach Nick Paterson strives for.
However, preparing for tomorrow's Capital League 2 grand final, Livingstone believes Spirit will be better served for the future by having another year in Division 2 before focusing on moving up.
"I know how tough Div 1 is,'' Livingstone said.
"Our first team squad this year was reasonably small.
"Next year it's going to be a much larger talent pool because of the young kids coming through.
"I think next year we'll be in a much better position to get promoted and be in Div 1 the following year.''
Spirit finished third during the premiership. They eliminated fourth-placed Oxley United and second-placed Centenary to meet runaway competition leaders in tomorrow's grand final at Richlands.
Livingstone has enjoyed plenty of past coaching success working with youth teams, including those at the Ipswich Knights.
This season at Spirit, he focused on the club's under-20 and Reserve grade sides, assisting Paterson with the first-grade team.
"We've done allright,'' Livingstone said.
"From a club point of view I think we are probably exactly where we want to be at this stage.
"There's a really, really good group of young lads coming through. We've just got to wait and see how they progress really.''
Although a different style of coach to Paterson, Livingstone said the head mentor had made significant progress in helping Spirit make the grand final.
"He's done a pretty good job with the lads,'' Livingstone said.
"He's been a little bit unfortunate with things that have happened some of the time (like injury and send-offs).
"The whole season has probably come back to a couple of moments and key games.''
While Spirit have nothing to lose in tomorrow's big game, they'll have to toil hard.
Six of the starting team were unable to train on Tuesday night, with injuries and issues from ankle problems to osteitis pubis.
Among those managing osteo are central midfielders Damien Andison and Livingstone's son Robbie.
"Damien Anderson has probably been one of the best players this season for us,'' Billy said. "He's really struggling.
"Robbie played Centenary last Friday night and had to come off after about 60 minutes.''
Billy said his son hadn't been able to train properly for six weeks with the nasty condition other footballers have experienced.
Captain Joel Hancock is also battling on with an ankle injury.
With one game to go, Living- stone said his players knew they had to find something extra before focusing on their off-season recovery.
"It's not ideal going into a grand final but the other side to that coin is the boys know what is expected of them,'' Livingstone said.
"They've done it often enough this year. One more game, I'm pretty sure most of these guys will play through the pain barrier.
"In the grand final, it's a one-off game. Hopefully the boys are up for it.''
- Today (4.30pm) - Queensland Under 23 All-Stars v Brisbane Roar at Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre, Nathan.
- Tonight (7.30pm) - Elimination final: Moreton Bay United FC v Edgeworth Eagles at QSAC.
- Capital League 2 grand final: Tomorrow (noon) - Western Spirit (3rd) v Souths (1st) at Lions Stadium, Richlands.