Sport

Drager has spell after double

HIGH ACHIEVER: Western Pride’s scoring ace Peter Drager shows his aerial skills under siege from a Sunshine Coast defender earlier this season.
HIGH ACHIEVER: Western Pride’s scoring ace Peter Drager shows his aerial skills under siege from a Sunshine Coast defender earlier this season. Claudia Baxter

ONLY that Peter Drager was recovering from a groin strain, he may have added another hat-trick to his impressive scoring tally.

The way last year's Division 1 Golden Boot winner was playing, he was on target for another three or four goal haul.

However, Western Pride's leading striker accepted the precautionary move when replaced in Saturday night's 2-2 draw with Moreton Bay Jets.

"It's not too bad, nothing to be too worried about," Drager, 24, said of his injury.

"I got a hat-trick at the start of the season so another one would have been good to seal the win."

When Drager came off early in the second half, Pride were leading 2-0.

However, Moreton Bay capitalised on his attacking absence to fight back in Pride's final National Premier League game of the season at the North Ipswich Reserve.

Another Drager goal could have been the winning difference.

However, Drager's latest double took his NPL record to 14 goals from 18 matches.

With two matches left, the former Ipswich Knights player has time to bolster his tally.

However, he knows it will be tough to repeat his 20-plus hauls that won him Golden Boot awards the past two seasons.

"I really had no idea what to expect," he said nearing the end of his first season in a higher level state competition.

"It depends on whether I was going to be a front striker or what.

"Ever since I've come into the middle (rather than wing), I'm expected to score goals.

"I suppose that's my job and it's been going all right the last few weeks.

"It's been a different challenge, different expectations from the team than recent years at Knights."

Drager is keen to return to Pride next season.

"I've definitely enjoyed playing with the guys and under Kasey (coach Kasey Wehrman) as well," he said.

"It's been a really good experience so far.

"I try and fly under the radar."

After a convincing first half, Pride looked winners against the Jets.

"Definitely, I just thought that we'd go ahead in the second half," Wehrman said.

However, the dreaded 2-0 up curse tormented the hard-working Pride players, especially with Moreton Bay's dangerman Royce Brownlie stepping up.

"In the second half, they weren't the better team," Wehrman said.

"But it (Pride's performance) was better than the first half of the season when we were losing 3-0. We weren't in the game.

"Now we're in the game, looking to win the game.

"We've been through every characteristic of a football team and that's great for their learning."

Among Pride's best were goalkeeper Steve Purdy, who literally saved his team from a late defeat. He made some fine point-blank stops as Jets mounted the pressure.

Defender Aaron Christensen was named player of the match.

Blasts of fire were also released when the players entered the field and for goals.

Western Pride officials displayed their professionalism by hosting a function to thank sponsors.

In last night's Brisbane Premier League clash, the out-of-sorts Ipswich Knights lost 3-0 to top-four hopefuls Rochedale Rovers at Underwood Park.

Ipswich Knights Reserve grade coach Michael Brown only had a few moments to savour his team's 3-1 win over Rochedale yesterday.

He was keen to return home to wife Louise after the recent arrival of their first baby Tyler.

Yesterday's victory at Rochedale keeps the Knights in the hunt for a top-four spot for the finals.

State of Play

National Premier League: Western Pride 2 (Peter Drager) drew Moreton Bay Jets 2.

Brisbane Premier League: Rochedale d Ipswich Knights 3-0. Reserves: Ipswich Knights 3 (Phil Brown, Scott Dykman, Matt Hilli) d Rochedale 1.

Capital League 1: Mitchelton d Western Spirit 12-0. Reserves: Mitchelton d Western Spirit 6-0.

Capital League 2: Holland Park 4 d Ipswich City 3 (Shaun Kitching, Ben Robson, Zygan Condie). Reserves: Holland Park d Ipswich City 4-0.

Topics:  moreton bay jets national premier league peter drager western pride football club



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