‘Lucky’ for the Knights, ‘cool’ Joe is keen to help others
LUCKY by name. Lucky for others who receive his life experience.
Ipswich Knights striker Lucky Joe uses his love of football to assist other young people in the community.
Studying a Diploma in Youth Work, the skilful South Sudanese footballer hopes to make a difference.
"I just like to help other people in the community, bring smiles to other kids' faces,'' Lucky said. "Anyone that needs help.''
Having arrived in Australia in 2006, the former Lions junior and under-20 player is grateful for his opportunity to play football in Queensland and at the Knights.
"Most of us Sudanese boys, we're really close,'' he said.
"Some of my boys played here long before me and said 'Knights are a good club, they give you opportunities'.
"Football is a really good sport. It keeps you active. It's a lot of fun.''
That's why he likes to help organise youth competition for the community.
"A lot of young Sudanese kids play football so we use these tournaments and just play,'' he said.
Aged 21, Lucky reflected on his latest fortune after scoring twice in the Knights' 4-1 local derby victory over Western Pride.
Lucky's third and fourth goals before halftime effectively ensured the Knights would complete a Queensland Premier League (QPL) clean sweep over their Ipswich neighbours this season.
"I was pretty happy with that,'' he said of his 29th and 32nd minute net finders.
"It was my first double (for the season).''
For Lucky, his victory-sealing goals provided extra satisfaction after he had some unexpected fortune of a different kind.
After injuring his left knee MCL in the last QPL pre-season game, he faced the daunting prospect of being out for most of the original 2020 season.
However, during the four-month COVID-19 sporting shutdown, he was able to do the necessary rehab on his left knee.
"It was sort of a good thing because I had time to recover when we weren't playing soccer and stuff,'' said Lucky, who lives at Redbank Plains.
"It was my first serious injury really.
"When the season came back, I was fully recovered and ready to play.''
Since then, Lucky has been a regular for the Knights, having made his top grade debut last year..
On Friday night at his team's home field, he added a welcome double following some excellent early work by teammate Michael Morrow.
Morrow's 13th and 27th minute goals put the injury-depleted Pride side on the backfoot immediately.
Showcasing his speed, Morrow inflicted a crucial blow to his former club.
"It kickstarted us really well when he scored the two goals,'' Lucky said.
"It was a good start for us because last week we had a really bad game.''
In a strange twist, the Knights fought back from a rare 6-2 loss to Mitchelton the previous week to earn local derby bragging rights.
Pride had an enforced break after beating Southside Eagles 6-1 in their previous clash on October 10.
Having not played for three weeks leading into the derby, the Pride players were unable to strike back before the break.
Pride won the second half after ever-dangerous Japanese recruit Yuta Hirayama scored shortly after halftime. But any comeback attempt was shut down by the gritty Knights defence eager to prove a point.
"None of us turned up,'' Lucky said, reflecting on the improved performance after the previous defeat. "But it was good that we got the win today in a local derby.''
Lucky is in his second season with the Knights.
He always enjoyed playing Brisbane Premier League derbies when he was with Lions and coming to Bundamba.
"The atmosphere is really, really good,'' he said, appreciating the extra fans at Eric Evans Oval on Friday night.
"Having a lot of people out here is pretty good.
"It was good to go there (Briggs Road Sporting Complex) and win and come here and win as well. It keeps the fans happy. It keeps us happy just to know that we are the better team in Ipswich.''
Western Pride return home to the Briggs Road Sporting Complex to tackle competition leaders Logan on Saturday night.
The Knights play Southside Eagles at Perry Park in what is their final game after a long season.
"We go wide and we come in. I like the way we are playing here,'' Lucky said of the Knights direct approach at goal, orchestrated by head coach Andy Ogden.
"You are always attacking but make sure you defend. That's how Oggy taught us here.''
He hopes to kick on with the Knights next season.
When asked about his name, the personable footballer smiled.
"Lucky is my real name,'' he said. "It's all cool.
"Some people don't believe my name is Lucky Joe . . . and they say 'can I see your licence?.
"I show them and they are like 'your name is actually Lucky Joe'.
"They get surprised and they ask me has 'anyone ever told you, you have a really, really good name?'
"I said 'I've heard that lot'.''
FQPL local derby: Ipswich Knights 4 (Michael Morrow 2, Lucky Joe 2) def Western Pride 1 (Yuta Hirayama) at Bundamba.
Knights clinch the 2020 local derby series 2-0 after also winning the first derby 2-1 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.