Western Pride's most capped senior men's footballer Joe Duckworth gives his all for the team.
Western Pride's most capped senior men's footballer Joe Duckworth gives his all for the team. Chris Simpson

Olympic setting benchmark: Top NPL player

PREPARING for his fourth game of the National Premier Leagues season, Joe Duckworth already rates Olympic the side to beat.

After defending grand final champions Western Pride lost 3-2 to Olympic a fortnight ago, Duckworth quickly rated the rivals as serious title contenders.

"We are under no illusions,'' Duckworth said of the third-placed 2018 Pride side, three points behind leaders Olympic.

"We got a good wake-up call from Olympic who I believe are the benchmark this year.

"Everyone's looking at them and they've already beaten two or three really good teams.

"We're already playing catch-up to them. We need to make sure that everyone's working hard.''

Saturday night's scheduled clash in Mackay is against NPL newcomers Magpies Crusaders.

Weather permitting, it will be Pride's second road trip in a row.

"It's tough but it's not an excuse,'' Duckworth said of the test ahead.

"The boys look forward to going away and having a bit of alone time up there together.

"Mackay are the new boys on the block but they fill up their stadiums. It's a big crowd there, there's a lot energy . . . so we're very excited about the challenge and hopefully another win.''

Meanwhile, tonight's Capital League 1 local derby between the Ipswich City Bulls and Western Spirit was washed out.

The Bulls are hoping they can host their second round FFA Cup match against Park Ridge at Sutton Park on Tuesday night.

Head coach Norbert Duga is keen for some play after all the recent wet weather and heat wave disruptions for his team.

Game day

NPL: Saturday (7pm, subject to weather) - Western Pride v Magpies Crusaders in Mackay.

NPL women: Monday (6.45pm) - Western Pride v The Gap at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

FQPL: Ipswich Knights have a bye.