Ipswich footballer Jay Kitching is happy being back at the Ipswich City Bulls.
Ipswich footballer Jay Kitching is happy being back at the Ipswich City Bulls. Rob Williams

Why proud footballer has put his family first

FOOTBALL: As part of one of Ipswich's most famous sporting clans, Jay Kitching knows when it's time to put his family first.

So after starting the 2018 Football Queensland Premier League season with the Ipswich Knights, he has no regrets about returning to the Ipswich City Bulls in Capital League 1.

It's a big drop in standard but one that better suits the well-travelled Ipswich footballer at this stage of his career.

With 15 month old son Archie, Kitching has returned to the Bulls after playing seven matches for the Knights.

"It's just hard with the little one with the QPL and with the training,'' Kitching, 25, said.

The former Western Pride NPL attacking midfielder found juggling work, the extra demanding Knights sessions and helping his wife Raylene with Archie was proving too much.

"I thought at the start of the season I wanted to test myself at a higher level again but I just wasn't really enjoying it so I decided to go back to the Bulls last week,'' he said.

Before senior stints with the Knights and Western Pride (from 2013-15), Kitching also played for Western Spirit from 2009-11.

However, he thrived at the Bulls last year, helping the Brassall-based team make last year's semi-final.

"It's the most enjoyable season I've ever had at the Bulls,'' Kitching said.

"I was always going to end up back at the Bulls but it came sooner rather than later.''

And having a young son is a good experience.

"I wouldn't change it for the world,'' Bundamba-based Kitching said, as one of a long line of proud Ipswich footballers who have always served the city well.

Although he's ineligible to play in the Bulls' next FFA Cup match, he has completed his clearances to play in the CL1 premiership.

He played for the Bulls Reserves in their previous 3-1 win against Oxley United before sitting on the bench for City's top side in their 3-0 victory.

With the Bulls hosting Moggill at Sutton Park on Saturday night, Kitching is keen to rejoin his long-time football mates.

"They are all a good bunch of blokes and we actually played really good football,'' he said. "It was really fun and I got a few goals.''

With two games in hand, the fifth-placed Bulls have two wins, a draw and a loss in the CL1 competition.

Bulls head coach Norbert Duga expected Kitching to get his first start up front on Saturday night with captain Mark Fancourt unavailable and striker Will French injured.

Joel Munn will come in for Nathan Gee, who is also away.

In Saturday night's other CL1 match, Western Spirit are at home against North Star, eager for some match time after recent washouts.

The second-placed Western Pride travel to Cairns on Saturday morning for their latest NPL game after beating Mt Gravatt 2-1 in their midweek FFA Cup preliminary round quarter-final.

The resurgent Ipswich Knights are back at home on Sunday afternoon against Mitchelton, focused on ending their recent run of losses having matched the competition's top two sides without yet winning.

The Pride women tackle Mitchelton at Teralba Park on Saturday night before the Ipswich City Bulls Premier League women meet Pine Hills away on Sunday afternoon.

Game day

NPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Cairns in Cairns.

NPL women: Saturday (6pm) - Western Pride v Mitchelton at Teralba Park.

FQPL: Sunday (3pm) - Ipswich Knights v Mitchelton at Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba.

CL1: Saturday (6pm) - Western Spirit v North Star at Kippen Park. 6pm: Ipswich City v Moggill at Sutton Park.

BWPL: Sunday (5pm) - Ipswich City v Pine Hills at James Drysdale Reserve.