Knights focus: Respect and doing right things
IT doesn't take long to learn why aspiring teacher Jack Cabassi has fitted so well into this year's Ipswich Knights Queensland Premier League squad.
The 2019 club captain admires respect, communication and coaching that brings out the best in a football side.
Preparing for Saturday night's QPL showdown against Holland Park, Cabassi has settled quickly back into the Knights framework having enjoyed a short previous stint with the Bundamba-based club in the 2017 season.
He worked at that stage with former head coach Graham Ross before being lured to Souths United last season.
However, with a revitalised Knights group and respect for coaches Andy Ogden and Lucas Wilson, Cabassi resisted other National Premier Leagues offers to share in the Ipswich club's renewed vision.
"Oggy put forward a few big plans and a few good things that he wants to do at the club and I wanted to jump on board,'' Cabassi said.
"Oggy is very positive and he's all about doing the right things the right way.
"With him and also Lucas, they complement each other really well.
"Out of my time in football in a senior set-up, I haven't had two coaches - the head coach and the assistant - really work well together and complement each other as much as these two.
"When it comes to addressing the boys, when Oggy and Lucas are talking, the respect levels are high.
"Both of those blokes have got a lot of knowledge which as a squad we want to learn and get better.''
Cabassi, 23, is in his final year studying education at the Australian Catholic University at Bunya.
Although surprised to be appointed club captain, Cabassi said it was an honour he appreciated leading a group rich in youth and enthusiasm.
"This year, we've got a great bunch of lads who are all working and buying into what Oggy and Lucas have put forward,'' Cabassi said, keen to also earn respect among the Ipswich community.
The former Annerley and Holland Park junior said opening the 2019 QPL season with a 1-0 win was encouraging.
"It was a long time coming with regards to us starting pre-season in November,'' he said.
"Getting off to the best possible start you could away to Southside Eagles, it was great.
"Everyone dug deep and got the result.''
Cabassi said as the team reflected on the victory, they made a key observation.
"The club, last year and the year before that, we may not have got the result regarding maturity or how we all dug deep as a squad,'' he said. "That was great to see.''
Knights head coach Ogden agreed.
He hoped his team could continue emulating what Manchester United did in its shock 3-1 victory over PSG in the Champions League.
Without 10 of their regular first team players, Man U upset their highly regarded opponents.
"If you have got a happy camp, you can go a long way to win games,'' Ogden said.
"You don't always have to be the best footballing team - look at Man United.
"They went to Paris 2-0 down and no-one gave them a hope but because all those players came in and changed the mood of the camp, all of a sudden these players thought they can win.
"We have got a lot of belief in what we're doing.
"We know no-one rates us so we use that as a motivation to say 'lets see how many people we can prove wrong' and show that we can play some decent footy.''
Keen to build on last week's 1-0 win, the Knights have received two additional boosts.
Emmanuel "Ezy'' Peter was named in the QPL team of the week.
Skilful Nahom Waldo returns after missing the season opener.
"We're looking stronger than last week because Nahom is back available,'' Ogden said.
The only concern was over midfielder Dave Maclot who has a slight knee injury.
"Everyone seems reasonably happy but we're certainly not getting carried away,'' the head coach said, mindful most of this year's QPL sides can beat each other.
"It's a matter of staying positive and having a good focus on what we're doing.''
FQPL: Saturday (6pm) - Ipswich Knights v Holland Park at White Hill Reserve.