RETURNING: Ipswich Knights goalkeeper Declan Murphy has recommitted to the team for 2018.
RETURNING: Ipswich Knights goalkeeper Declan Murphy has recommitted to the team for 2018. Inga Williams

Knights keep competition's best

YOU can have the most potent offence in the competition, but if you have to keep picking the ball out of your own net you will rarely win games of football.

The 2016/17 version of Manchester City can attest to that.

Which is why the Ipswich Knights moved early to re-sign Brisbane Premier League Select Team goalkeeper Declan Murphy for the 2018 QPL season.

The Knights announced the towering six-foot-three shotstopper will return for a second season, after impressing between the posts for the Ipswich side in a rollercoaster season.

The former Lions-listed player moved west for more first team opportunities.

He was handed that by the Knights, and Murphy took it with both hands.

"I needed experience and the Knights were a team that offered me that,” the 21 year-old Scottish-born player said.

"(Lions) were looking for first-team experience and I couldn't provide that (at the time).”

Starting brightly, the Knights endured a rough patch through mid-season before returning to form in the latter stages of the competition.

"It was very up and down,” the Springfield Lakes-based player said.

"We started off very well and then hit a real rough patch where it became a bit of a mental thing for us, struggling to pick ourselves up from a few big losses.

"The second half of the season we really stuck our heads down and went for it, it was a nice strong finish that gave us confidence going forward.”

Murphy said the promising performances through the back half of 2017 showed the team was trending upward and that, coupled with the professionalism of the club and coaching staff made the decision to re-sign an easy one.

"It showed we are more than capable of matching the top teams in the league, so I think mentally that will stick with us,” Murphy said.

"The professionalism at the club is there. Having had a few rough seasons, the club aspires to be more professional and competitive, and it was that kind of mentality that made me want to stay.

"They're looking to put trophies in the cabinet, and I want to be part of that.

Murphy, who admitted he would be "no good anywhere else” outside of goal, said he tries to base his game off Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon and Manchester United star David De Gea.

If he can produce anywhere near the level of the two 'keepers in the running for the much-coveted Ballon D'Or trophy, the Knights will consider their recruitment of Murphy as one of their best.

The Celtic supporter knows he still has a long way to go before those comparisons can truly be made, but in just 12 months he has already proved many doubters wrong.

"It was a massive surprise, especially considering some of the massive results against us,” Murphy said of his place in the BPL Select Team.

"It proved I'm capable of being a first-team goalkeeper, which is what this season was all about for me.

"Proving to some of those people who maybe thought I wasn't good enough, that I was.

"I definitely had a chip on my shoulder, and it gave me a strong purpose this season to prove the naysayers wrong.

"It's all about consistency now; I've proved it, now I just need to back it up and keep doing the same things and improving.”

Murphy said a promotion push should be a goal for the Knights next season.

"You play to compete at the highest level possible, and that would be something we can achieve,” he said.