The unbeaten Western Pride under-18 Football Queensland Premier League side with club patron Gary Wilkins.
The unbeaten Western Pride under-18 Football Queensland Premier League side with club patron Gary Wilkins.

Unbeaten team’s celebration warning: Attitude trumps ability

WESTERN Pride's team of the future has been urged to celebrate their latest success with a message of caution.

Pride's under-18 men's side remained unbeaten during two phases of Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) competition this season after fighting back to defeat Logan 3-2 in their final clash.

Former A-League coach and Western Pride technical director Mike Mulvey provided timely encouragement and wise advice to the young team he mentored this year.

"The under 18s can be very proud of their achievements this season,'' Mulvey said.

"They have proven, at this level, they are capable.

"The first half was not very pretty yesterday . . . but they proved what character they had and responded very, very well and ended up winning the game thrillingly in the end.''

The U18s won eight and drew three of their 11 phase one competition matches to finish four points ahead of the Wolves. They scored 39 goals and only conceded 13 before the second phase series where Pride maintained their undefeated run.

However, Mulvey said their journey had just begun as Pride pushes to regain its place in the National Premier League (NPL) and secure an A-League licence in the future.

"We can celebrate this achievement but the great challenge for these young boys now is overcoming what many young footballers fail to understand,'' he said.

"That is attitude trumps ability any day.''

He said a great attitude was needed while "recognising the hard work and the right environment is crucial to their future''.

Mulvey said the Pride's under-18 and under-16 players were the backbone of the club for the next 10 years.

"First of all, we've got to celebrate it,'' he said. "Then you've got to understand what can these young lads achieve in the future?

"They have got a lot of talent. Some players will go onto higher levels and some players will get to the level that the club wants them.

"The club wants them now to be NPL and that's absolutely crucial.''

Western Pride under-18 Football Queensland Premier League coach and technical director Mike Mulvey
Western Pride under-18 Football Queensland Premier League coach and technical director Mike Mulvey

Unhappy about the "second phase'' series organised by Football Queensland, Mulvey praised his youth players for the way they handled the challenge, especially with school priorities and other disruptions to contend with.

"They have had to cope with training sessions, players not being at training because they have got exams on, and one thing or another,'' he said.

"Football Queensland didn't help in the way that they organised the second phase.''

The Pride under 18 players were among a number of junior teams to be acknowledged and presented their medals at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday.

The Ipswich club's under-12 Division 1 boys also received extra recognition for being undefeated during their season.

Western Pride under 18 coach and club technical director Mike Mulvey. Picture: Rob Williams
Western Pride under 18 coach and club technical director Mike Mulvey. Picture: Rob Williams

In what was a carnival-like atmosphere at Pride's home base, it was tremendous seeing the young boys and girls share in the club spirit.

After his first season as technical director, Mulvey welcomed that.

However, he urged the club to plan a full return to the National Premier Leagues competition after some mixed results in this year's FQPL.

That is especially crucial with next year's Football Queensland restructure featuring under 18 and under 23 (instead of under 20) competitions.

"I wholeheartedly disagree with that,'' Mulvey said.

"If you have an under 23 team that means that you could potentially have a squad of about 30 players and some of those players are not capable of playing in your first team. You need to promote young players.

"These under-18 players need to be pushing for first-time football.''

With next season's under-23 change, Mulvey said major planning was required.

"The club right now is at the crossroads because we are playing in the FQPL, which is not the top division,'' Mulvey said.

"The club needs to be playing in the NPL.''