Time for a beer as footy returns to Ipswich fields
WORKING through what feels like a "strange mini pre-season'', the Ipswich City Bulls are getting back on track.
The Ipswich men's team playing in the Football Brisbane Capital League 1 competition has a new focus with matches set to resume from July 24.
For head coach and new dad Norbert Duga, it's been a tricky time dealing with the football shutdown then having COVID-19 restrictions when team training was allowed from June 11.
"It's been pretty tough following the guidelines, trying to keep the boys the required 1.5m apart, then on top of that trying to actually run good sessions,'' the experienced Ipswich footballer said.
"We just tried to keep them moving as much as possible, almost a mini pre-season. But it's difficult to keep them interested when you're limited to what you can do.''
The Bulls are trying to restore some normality training at their Sutton Park base on Tuesday and Thursday nights. But even that has been adjusted to a later timeslot to allow earlier groups to clear the fields under return to play guidelines.
"It's definitely strange starting a season so late, and it's a shame because we were humming along nicely at the time of the shutdown,'' Duga said.
"But slowly I can see everyone keen to finally just play games.''
After only one match before the 2020 C1 competition was halted, the Bulls are preparing for a late July restart.
Before that, the Bulls have valuable 6pm and 8pm matches against the Ipswich Knights on Friday night at Bundamba.
"Knights will be tough, but I think a tough run will benefit us physically,'' Duga said.
"It will give us a good chance to see where we might be lacking before next week.
"I am sure we will be competitive. It's just a question of how long will our legs last.''
After Friday night's games, the Bulls will return home to face Willowburn the following Saturday in 3.30pm and 5.30pm warm-up encounters.
He hopes football fans can enjoy a beer at the upcoming home trials, following safe distance protocols.
Duga expects the remaining competition to be 16 rounds with 11 games before the table is split into top six and bottom six sections.
The top six will get to play for promotion and the bottom six will play for a plate.
"I am happy there is something to actually play for and not just 16 rounds of friendlies,'' he said.
Duga said his squad had lost about five players due to personal circumstances changing.
However, he hopes some new additions will offset that.
Seniors players in the squad include captain Joel Munn, Zygan Condie, Ronan Geoghegan, Lincoln Rule, Chris Speranza, Jay Kitching, Trent Griffiths and goalkeepers Brent Witney and Dean Stenzel.
"Our goal has never changed,'' he said. "We want to win as many football games as we can then we can re-evaluate how we're going further down the track.''