HAVING lined up in more than 30 local derbies, Ipswich City Bulls striker Zygan Condie knows how much they mean to the players.
Even when your team is anchored near the bottom of the table, Condie understands how regional clashes lift the players.
That was proven when the Bulls upset Western Spirit 3-2 in the opening game of the Division 1 season. Western Spirit gained revenge 1-0 in the return clash.
Tonight's final derby of the season is between the Bulls and Knights at Sutton Park, Brassall.
The Knights won the first football clash 2-0 at Bundamba on March 24.
However, this game is more crucial with the fourth-placed Knights needing victory to keep their premiership hopes alive.
"Me, Denno (Chris Denman) and Kitcho (Shaun Kitching) were all at the Knights at the start of the year and now we're all with the Bulls," said Condie, preparing for tonight's showdown.
"This will be a pretty big game for the three of us."
Condie said with nothing else on the line for the 13th placed Bulls this season, tonight's game is motivating his side to gain some regional bragging rights.
"It would cap our season off and make it a good feeling," Condie said. "It goes without saying we'd love to beat them (Knights)."
Long-serving Bulls player Condie returned to Sutton Park in early May after receiving limited game time at the Knights.
It was ironically in the Knights game against the Bulls that he decided to rejoin his former club.
"Ash (Knights coach Ashley Hempstead) gave me about a minute on the field against the Bulls and that's when I pretty much left the club," he said.
However, a lot of the Bulls and Knights players remain good mates, enjoying a beer together after games.
"When you step on to the field, it's a totally different thing and all you want to do is win," Condie said.
Like Condie, Bulls co-coach Nev O'Sullivan has been around local derbies long enough to appreciate how they inspire players.
"It's a grand final for us," O'Sullivan said. "We're always up for a big game."
After beating Moggill 2-1 on Sunday, the Knights receive a boost tonight with fresh players Alex Jimmink and Aaron Christensen returning.
Knights captain Stephen Hughes expects a Bulls ambush attempt. "They'll be waiting for us, hoping we're all a bit fatigued," Hughes said.
"You've got to step up. That's what is all about."
While the Knights will need to manage their players carefully, the Bulls will rest captain Ronan Geoghegan. He rolled his ankle in Saturday night's 3-1 loss to Logan.
However, goalkeeper Dean Stenzel returns for the home side.
A minute's silence will be observed tonight to honour Lilly Dann, a matriarch of one of Ipswich's best known footballing families.
- Tonight: Division 1 local derby (7.30pm) - Ipswich City (13th) v Ipswich Knights (4th) at Sutton Park, Brassall.
- The Reserve grade local derby is scheduled for Thursday night, also at Sutton Park.