Ipswich club secures quality footballer
AGED 22 and back in familiar territory, Corey Lucas is in a happy place.
The accomplished defender has signed with the Ipswich Knights, keen to build on a solid footballing foundation.
After two seasons in the National Premier Leagues competition, Lucas was delighted to receive an opportunity to help the Knights progress in next year's Football Queensland Premier League competition.
"It's very familiar,'' the former Ipswich Grammar School student said, overlooking the Knights main field at Bundamba.
"I played plenty of junior football here and I grew up not far away at Bundamba.
"Home was up near the TAFE college until I was 10, then out to Karalee.''
After starting his junior career with the Ipswich City Bulls, Lucas played for the Knights before a stint with Western Spirit.
Having been recognised as a player of the future, he was promoted to Western Pride's National Premier Leagues senior team in 2016.
Lucas rates a highlight at Pride being given the opportunity to play the New Zealand men's team during a mid-season match to help the All Whites prepare for an international tournament.
Lucas then played NPL for Moreton Bay United, ironically lining up against his former club in the 2017 grand final won 2-1 by Pride.
"That was an awesome experience,'' Lucas said.
"I had a year with Pride then with Moreton Bay we played (A-League team) Western Sydney so the exposure was unbelievable.''
After eight matches with Mitchelton in last year's Football Queensland Premier League competition, Lucas seized on the opportunity to play again in a promising Knights squad.
"Oggy (head coach Andrew Ogden) is a big part of it to be honest,'' Lucas said.
Lucas likes the football style Ogden wants to play.
Having grown up in the city, Lucas also knew what the loyal Ipswich coach offered developing talent.
"What you see is what you get with Oggy as well,'' Lucas said. "There's no hidden details.
"He's very up front and knows what he's talking about.''
The former Bundamba Primary School student said his stint in the NPL was hugely beneficial.
"It changed my perspective on everything and helped me develop big time,'' the 195cm regular centre back said.
"As a footballer, your decision-making is so much better and just had to be.''
When at Western Pride, Lucas also featured in a Fox Sports "Ones to Watch'' series.
He expects next year's FQ Premier League to provide more quality football.
"With Easts and (Peninsula) Power gone (promoted), it's quite open so it could be anyone's (in 2019), which is exciting, especially for the Knights,'' he said.
Since graduating at IGS, Lucas now works in the Marist College boarding school and sports office at Ashgrove.
"I've had plenty of time coaching and stuff there as well,'' he said.
Back in training at the Knights, Lucas was raring to make an impact.
"I'm loving it, really good,'' he said. "It's very exciting.
"Bring on March.''