Ipswich Knights head coach Andy Ogden.
Ipswich Knights head coach Andy Ogden.

Why tight-knit Ipswich football team excited about season

FOR a club with so much character and promise, the Ipswich Knights top team has struggled to consistently deliver their best results in recent seasons.

However, that could be about to change in the 2019 Football Queensland Premier League competition.

After their best pre-season in years, some astute recruiting and with a loyal head coach, the Knights launch Saturday night's season-opener reinvigorated but realistic.

"We are a fairly tight-knit group down at the Knights and we know where we stand,'' Andy Ogden said, preparing for their away clash against Southside Eagles.

"We're not getting ahead of ourselves.

"We will respect every opposition we play.

"We want to play good high tempo and move the ball properly and I want us to express ourselves and show that we can play football.

"Everyone wants to come and see a few goals and play some good footy.''

Being a former Coalstars Premier League player with strong Ipswich ties, Ogden was a welcome choice as Knights head coach for this season.

He guided the club's under-20 side to last year's grand final, having also done some fantastic development work at Brisbane Force prior to that.

Having built a solid relationship with this year's Knights under-20 coach Bob Maclot, Ogden was confident the club was better balanced and settled heading into a new season.

"It's been a decent pre-season,'' Ogden said. "Everyone seems to be working hard and enjoying themselves, which is always a good sign.''

That pre-season includes encouraging performances against a number of National Premier Leagues and Queensland Premier League teams.

The Knights had narrow 2-1 losses to Palm Beach and Nerang, lost 5-3 to Olympic and drew 2-2 with another NPL combination South West Thunder. The Knights beat Taringa 4-2 and Acacia Ridge 2-0 before their most recent 2-1 loss to Rochedale.

Ogden was particularly happy with his team pushing Olympic a week before their NPL season debut. He said the Knights were capitalising on some committed work before the Christmas break.

"We wanted to go into the season with a bit of confidence,'' Ogden said. "They were good hit-outs for us.''

Ogden is happy with the experience this year's side has with Matt White the only under-20 player in the starting squad at this stage.

"We've managed to bring in a couple of other boys to strengthen the squad and we're happy with the balance we've got,'' the head coach said.

"We really wanted to make sure this year that we've got some credibility with the League.

"Last year wasn't a great year (for the top side) so we want to get some runs on the board.

"The 20s are still very young 20s. There will be players that will come in with injuries, suspensions, people away, all those circumstances . . . and we need good 20s to come in.

"But at the moment because we've decided we want to try and be really competitive from the word go, we've brought in some other players.''

Knights stalwart Danny Wilson will coach the club's under-18 side which open its season tonight against the Southside Eagles.

Game day

FQPL Rd 1: Saturday (6pm): Ipswich Knights v Southside Eagles at Memorial Park.

Knights 2019 first team squad: Goalkeepers - Chris Parsons, Damon Wenck. Defenders: Jack Cabassi (club captain), Rob Baker, Ben Taylor, Corey Lucas, Nathan Garcia, Yuta Kasahara. Midfielders: Lincoln Rule, Dave Maclot, Nahom Waldo, Eyale Teshager, Emmanuel Peter, Matt White. Forwards: Mambo Kashindi, Lachlan Munn, Forkpah Ballah, Nick Edwards.