Newly-appointed Western Pride head coach Brian Hastings. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Newly-appointed Western Pride head coach Brian Hastings. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Pride coach's painful mishap as steps up player search

RECOVERING from a roof painting mishap, Western Pride's new senior men's coach Brian Hastings is back in full planning mode for next year.

As someone who considers himself a fatherly figure to the club's promising young guns, he has high hopes for the 2021 Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) season.

This year's successful under-20 Pride mentor and senior team assistant has been appointed to the Ipswich club's head coaching role.

However, a nasty accident with a high pressure paint pump left Hastings in hospital for two days last week receiving surgery on his left index finger.

Despite the painful experience, the experienced football coach is eager to build on what Pride achieved in this year's under-18, under-20 and senior men's program.

The Pride under-18s were premiership winners, the under-20s finished second and the senior squad toiled hard battling some major injury issues.

"It's more of a challenge. We want to try and get back into the NPL (National Premier Leagues competition),'' Hastings said.

"Part of that is recruitment and getting some good players come in to bolster the team.

"The core of the group is there and then just add in a couple more experienced players just to help those kids get to the next level.

"We want to possibly push them to a level beyond what they realise they are capable of.

"It's looking quite positive.''

Keen to restore Pride's place at the top of the league and secure promotion, his main pre-Christmas priority is running trials on December 10 and 17 at the Springfield Central Sports Complex.

"We might find a rough diamond that I don't know about that has some ability,'' he said.

Hastings hopes to attract up to seven new players to enhance the squad of 20.

Brian Hastings.
Brian Hastings.

Hastings, 59, was recruited by Pride last season to share his 38 years of football coaching knowledge.

He worked closely with Andrew Catton in the senior men team and was across junior areas of the club as Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP) director.

He guided the under-20 team to equal first in the QPL competition, finishing second on goal difference.

The South African-born Australian citizen was encouraged by the youth in this year's senior program, led by a handful of players over 24. Injuries to older players like Nielen Brown and Killian Flavin left the Pride squad even younger at the end of the season.

That's the area Hastings most wants to bolster before getting his squad together in January for a pre-season program and Friendlies matches at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE: Decades of football skills

The former South African semi-professional and state level midfielder/defender has an impressive resume, including four years as Director of Football at St Joseph's College in Brisbane.

He was also a first team coach in the GPS competition during his seven-year stint.

The newly-appointed Pride senior team head coach had previous first team ties with other clubs like North Star and UQ. He ran a youth program at Rochedale from 2008-11.

That diverse youth team experience will be helpful with next year's FQPL competition featuring an under-23 series, replacing this year's under-20 format.

Hastings will oversee that development with a Pride under-23 coach yet to be appointed.

"We've got a very good bunch of youngsters coming through,'' he said.

"It's just a case of finding the balance, finding a couple of wise heads.''

Hastings will take some valuable experiences into his new role, having served at Western Pride for a season.

"This year the most important thing I got from the players is that they are not only good footballers but good human beings,'' he said.

"We had really large squads at the beginning of the season and there were players who had to sit on the bench and didn't get a run for the first few weeks until injuries and suspension came in.

"The maturity shown by those kids was amazing.

"As an older coach and a more like a dad to these boys, I very often realise that sport is not everything - be all and end all.

"Often you want better human beings as well as players coming through.''

He enjoyed working with the under-20 and youth players in the senior squad, seeing their qualities.

"That word respect was so important this year,'' he said.

"We were a top team under 20s and when we won we didn't go there and put it in anybody's faces. We showed humility and we made sure everything we did was with a lot of grace as well.''