Ipswich City Bulls captain Joel Munn reflects on his team's testing start to the 2021 Capital League 1 season. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich City Bulls captain Joel Munn reflects on his team's testing start to the 2021 Capital League 1 season. Picture: David Lems

Why new dad still backs winless Ipswich City side

IT is extremely painful losing 8-1 in only your second game back from a break and with a hotly anticipated local derby looming.

However, for calm and collected Ipswich City Bulls captain Joel Munn, it's important to keep everything in perspective.

Having returned from knee surgery and being a new dad, Munn managed a smile reflecting on his team's latest Capital League 1 defeat to Pine Hills at Brassall.

Going down by seven goals left Munn and his teammates with plenty to ponder, especially having to back up against rising threat Ripley Valley in Friday night's derby at the same Sutton Park venue.

"It's a tough one to accept,'' Munn said.

"It's especially not good because the local derby is coming up in seven days.''

After a weather-disrupted pre-season with a number of regular players unavailable, the Bulls suffered earlier losses to Moggill (6-2) and North Pine (4-2).

But through the anguish of Saturday night's Pine Hills football lesson, Munn offered a valuable response to help keep his winless team motivated and moving forward.

"Try and control what you can control,'' he said, in only his second game back and noting how the Bulls had only played three games in the past six weeks with their limited training.

"We are down four starters tonight. We haven't trained in three weeks so you've got to try and do that on your own back and it is a bit hard.

"But they (Pine Hills) are a quality outfit too. They are finishing well and playing good.''

After only trailing 1-0 after the first 25 minutes, the Bulls let the game get away at the back end of both halves.

"Fitness is massive for us and maybe a bit of ticker (was lacking) but we've got to try and stay positive and back up again,'' he said.

As the captain faced the reality of the current football challenge, he had every reason to leave Sutton Park with another priority going well.

Munn and wife Stacey are delighted about the birth of their first daughter Valerie, who is 10 weeks old.

"I'm super excited about that and actually chuffed as,'' Joel said.

Joel and Stacey married three years ago after going out for a number of years having known each other as teenagers.

The police officer welcomed the new stage of his life.

"For sure it's excellent. It's really good,'' he said.

Ipswich City Bulls captain Joel Munn is happy to be a new dad. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich City Bulls captain Joel Munn is happy to be a new dad. Picture: David Lems

But playing football again is a bonus, appreciating the support of the police force in allowing him to train and play when he can.

"And that's another thing. I've been out of the team through that process and only sort of just come back,'' he said.

Munn had surgery on his left knee last year.

"She's coming good,'' he said of his injury. "It's not 100 per cent and I'm not the only one.

"There's a couple of us out injured.''

Munn, 30, started with the Bulls as an 18-year-old before moving to Mackay for five years through his work as a police officer.

The skilful centre defender has played nine seasons with the Bulls.

But he knows as well as anyone physical power is as important and skill, especially against a more polished opponent like Pine Hills.

"It's only three games in so it's not panic stations at the moment but we definitely need to have a good hard look at ourselves defensively,'' he said.

"I think we've leaked 24 goals in three games and playing premier league teams as well (in a trial).

"But for our league, we've got a goal difference now of negative 13 so it's not good enough.''

While Bulls goalkeeper Brent Witney was getting a workout for the whole game, his opposite number hardly had to make a save as some creative Bulls attack regularly broke down.

However, Munn expected his team to improve as senior players like Zygan Condie and Ronan Geoghegan return to the starting side after regaining their fitness.

Experienced footballers like Lincoln Rule, Jay Kitching and Jimmy Allison will also be crucial as the Bulls look to rebuild this season.

Munn praised Bulls defender Ryan Velasquez for having "a cracking game'' facing a barrage of Pine Hills attack.

"Hopefully if we can get down to do some training, we will turn it around,'' he said.

"We haven't had a full squad all year and we had three different starters from this week to last week.''