Hard-working Joe keen for tighter tussle second time

Western Pride footballer Joe Duckworth
Western Pride footballer Joe Duckworth Chris Simpson

FEW Western Pride footballers deserve the opportunity more than Joe Duckworth, especially after a long National Premier Leagues state competition season.

However, the former Ipswich Grammar School student sees being selected in the final 18 man NPL Queensland Under 23 Select squad as a reward for his efforts.

Playing against the Brisbane Roar A-League combination in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon enhances the occasion.

"We're pretty keen,'' Duckworth said. "We've been training for a few weeks for it so we're ready to go.''

Duckworth was Pride's leading 2016 NPL season goal scorer with 11 from 22 matches.

He will be joined in the final Select squad with Pride teammate Bonventure Thomas-Remijo, who has also continued to impress this season.

Saturday's 3pm match at the Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre will be Duckworth's second appearance in the NPL Select side.

"I've been lucky enough to make it twice now,'' he said, having trained with the Brisbane Roar Youth squad in recent months.

Last year Duckworth was joined by Pride teammates Jesse Rigby and Harry Sawyer, who felt the full brunt of the Roar attack during an 8-0 loss.

"We got beaten pretty badly last year but we learnt our lesson from that,'' Duckworth said keen to help his young team improve.

Western Pride head mentor Graham Harvey was appointed assistant coach of the talent-rich Select team.

NPL Queensland Under 23 Select coach Grae Piddick, from Gold Coast City, believes the squad is motivated to put their best foot forward against the three-time A-League Champions.

"We have a plan to beat the Roar but obviously we are going to have to execute it very well on the day," Piddick said.

"It's an under 23 side in name but most of our squad are actually 21 or younger, so they are very young but they are also very enthusiastic.

"They're going to give it their best and give it a good crack.''

Admission to Saturday's game is free.

Qld U23 Select squad: 1. Shane Viitakangas (Gold Coast City), 2. Benjamin Lyvidikos (Gold Coast City), 3. Kai Smith (Brisbane City), 4. Kai Halliday (Redlands United), 5. Grant Brix (Redlands United), 6. Luke Pavlou (Brisbane City), 7. Sam Cronin (Olympic), 8. Ben Litfin (Gold Coast), 9. Joe Duckworth (Western Pride), 10. Mitchell Hore (Brisbane City), 11. Finn Beakhurst (Moreton Bay United), 12. Scott Halliday (Brisbane City), 13. Matthew Capelo (Moreton Bay United), 14. Cameron Nucifora (FNQ), 15. Jaiden Walker (Gold Coast City), 16. Samuel Sibatuara (Brisbane City), 17. Bon Thomas-Remijo (Western Pride), 18. Samuel Nickolls (Sunshine Coast).

Topics:  ipswich grammar school ipswich football, joe duckworth, npl, npl queensland, npl queensland select u23 squad, western pride

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