Ipswich Knights ‘one of the best teams to be a part of’
GRATEFUL to be playing after a worrying injury, Ben Taylor has a growing sense of confidence about what the Ipswich Knights might achieve.
The stand-in captain was pleased with his team's latest 3-0 Football Queensland Premier League victory over Rochedale at Bundamba this afternoon, preserving the Knights' unbeaten record since the competition resumed.
"It was really good to keep a clean sheet,'' Taylor said. "We spoke about that a lot during the week.
"We have no problem scoring goals but not conceding has been a bit of an issue so really glad to get the clean sheet today.''
Aged 30, Taylor knows he has a limited time left in the premier league competition.
That's why he wisely spent the four-month coronavirus shutdown recovering from a right ankle tendon overuse injury that threatened to derail his 2020 season.
"I actually hadn't played a game prior to COVID,'' he said, reflecting on the first four matches when he was sidelined with injury.
"I used COVID to get fit again and I'm feeling fitter than I was before.
"It (COVID) is obviously a terrible thing and you never wish it but it helped me get back.''
In the three matches the Knights have played since returning, they have only dropped two points to Sunshine Coast. Today's effort was another tidy performance.
The Knights were clearly the better side against Rochedale, dominating the attack and displaying a superior defensive line.
Dependable defender Ben Barrett headed in the first goal before free-flowing striker Michael Morrow pounced on a throw ball to calmly slot the ball past the Rochedale keeper.
In the blustery conditions, the Knights sealed victory in the second half when Sho Otsuka also seized on an excellent opportunity in open space to neatly beat the last line of defence. He has scored four goals in five games.
At the other end of the field, Taylor usually links with regular captain Jack Cabassi, providing a network of valuable experience.
However, with Cabassi out dealing with hamstring issues, Taylor was happy to guide the team.
"I've been stand-in when Jack hasn't been available this season,'' he said.
"I stepped up into the vice-captaincy and as one of the senior guys, I really enjoy it.
"It's good to lead from the back and we've got some really talented boys in front of me.
"It's just a pleasure to work with them.''
Having British parents, Taylor was born and grew up in Hong Kong before coming to Australia.
He works for a marine engineering company on the north side of the Gold Coast.
His focus in the family business is on health and safety and purchasing materials.
Taylor is in his second season with the Knights having previously played for Southside Eagles.
But having also been coached by Andy Ogden at Brisbane Force, Taylor slotted comfortably back into a Knights squad that's gaining some tremendous momentum after making last year's finals.
"We're hoping to roll on against Southside Eagles on Wednesday. Hopefully another three points,'' Taylor said.
"I think we've kept a good squad and the additions we've made have been superb.
"This is probably one of the best teams I've been a part of.
"I think we can go all the way this year.''
Taylor seized on the invitation to join the Knights.
"Any opportunity to come back and play for Oggy, I jumped on it,'' he said.
"There's a great sense of camaraderie among the lads and that really helps us.
"It's enjoyable to come down here and play with the guys.
"That's always been a help.''
FQPL: Ipswich Knights 3 (Ben Barrett, Michael Morrow, Sho Otsuka) def Rochedale 0; Western Pride 2 (Killian Flavin 2) def Southside Eagles 1.
U20: Rochedale def Knights 3-1, Western Pride def Southside Eagles 3-1.
U18: Rochedale def Knights 2-0, Western Pride def Southside Eagles 4-1.
CL1: Carina 2 def Ipswich City 1 (Samuel Chesterfield). Reserves: Carina 2 def Ipswich City 1 (Nick Carson).
CL2: Ripley Valley 3 (Madison Elrick 2, Pete Drager 1) def Slacks Creek 0. Reserves: Ripley Valley 3 (Nic Muir, Jay Johnson, Brandon Gee) def Slacks Creek 1.