Joe’s blow as Knights fire up for QPL opener
FOOTBALL: Losing the fleet-footed Lucky Joe in the closing seconds of a final trial was not what the Ipswich Knights wanted.
The promising attacking midfielder could miss the first month of the Queensland Premier League season after hurting his knee against Broadbeach last weekend.
However, while hugely disappointed, head coach Andy Ogden was confident his strengthened squad could do the job in their QPL opener against Souths United on Saturday night.
"It was a good hit-out for us and we probably needed it,'' he said of the Knights final warm-up clash in the pre-season.
"The boys got good minutes under their belt which was important.
"It's been a fairly settled squad, especially after Christmas.''
Like the players, Ogden is ready to launch into a new season.
"Everyone is really keen. It seems like a really long pre-season,'' he said. "You start before Christmas, then you have your break and then you start again.''
What has Ogden excited about his squad is the injection of new faces working around an established core that played finals football last season.
"It's a little bit different to last year to be honest. We're a bit more mobile . . . a little bit more aggression in the middle of the park,'' he said.
Busy players like Mitch Herrmann, Josh Wilson, Sho Otsuka and Matt White provide plenty of spark for the Knights' attacking formation featuring Lachlan Munn, Nic Edwards and newcomer Michael Morrow.
Ogden is keen to help former Pride player Morrow add more skills to his trademark speed.
"Michael is getting better with each session, each game,'' Ogden said.
"(At Pride), Michael played a very traditional role . . . always looking for Michael in behind.
"I'm trying to work with Michael to improve his overall game.''
He said if Morrow gets his decision-making better, his pace makes him even more dangerous.
Former international futsal player Zayne Freiberg will start the season in goals, returning to the Bundamba-based club.
Fine team man Jack Cabassi returns as captain, slotting in at right back.
"They are training well and the squad we've got is quite closeknit,'' Ogden said.
"It's good to have some real depth this year.''
The Knights under-18s kick off their new season in the 3pm match before the Ipswich under-20s game at 5pm.
Relegated from last year's National Premier Leagues competition, Western Pride kick off their QPL season on Sunday afternoon against Sunshine Coast Fire at Kawana.
QPL: Saturday (7pm) - Ipswich Knights v Souths United at Wakerley Park.
Sunday (4pm): Western Pride v Sunshine Coast at Kawana Western Precinct.