Western Spirit wary of Bulls in local derby showdown

 "Just keep winning'' is a simple philosophy but one that guided Western Spirit all the way to last year's grand final.

Although Spirit lost their final Capital League 2 encounter, the team had a successful season under head coach Nick Paterson.

However, tomorrow night presents one of the toughest annual challenges for Western Spirit in the Capital League 2 competition.

It's the opening local derby of the season, after just three matches.

Spirit have two wins and a loss preparing to host the Ipswich City Bulls, who traditionally thrive in derbies.

After also losing their opening game, the Bulls beat Redcliffe and drew with competition favourites The Gap in an important result last weekend.

Although treating it like any other game, Paterson expects the Bulls to be up for another terrific tussle at Kippen Park.

"It doesn't matter when the derby is,'' Paterson said.

"The 11 players you put out on the park have got to step up and be prepared to battle for 90 minutes.

"Traditionally, the best football is not played. You just roll the sleeves up and dig in.''

Paterson hopes to field a full strength side for tomorrow night's 8.30pm main game. That includes recently acquired former Premier League player Brodie Kenyon, who is available after missing last weekend's match with cricket final commitments.

Paterson was happy with last weekend's result, especially the number of chances his team created. "They are all going really well at the moment. They are starting to gel as a unit,'' Paterson said.

"A few boys are playing out of position as a stop gap at the moment but they are doing a really good job.''

But he knows the Bulls can't be allowed to score first, given their record of tenacity in past local derbies.

"You've got to get on top of them early and hope they don't get ahead of you,'' he said.

Tomorrow night's Reserve grade derby between Spirit and the Bulls is at 6.30pm.