Sport

Pride and joy at big launch

EXCITING TIME: Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle can’t wait for his club’s NPL state competition kick-off next month.
EXCITING TIME: Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle can’t wait for his club’s NPL state competition kick-off next month. Sarah Harvey

WESTERN Pride is set to launch their historic National Premier League state competition season at the North Ipswich Reserve next month.

Pride general manager Pat Boyle said the senior team was preparing for its first Sunday afternoon match at the iconic Ipswich venue on March 10.

Pride is scheduled to play QAS in its opening game of the 26-match season.

The elite competition was yesterday relaunched by Football Federation Austalia as the NPL, after earlier being called the Australian Premier League.

Boyle is confident a number of Pride's home games will be played at the Reserve.

NPL matches clashing with the Ipswich Jets are being rescheduled for the Ipswich Knights ground at Bundamba.

"It's fantastic we can play some games at the Reserve, especially what Council has done for that venue. It's a superb venue now,'' Boyle said.

"We've got about three or four games being played out of Ipswich Knights.''

Pride's top team has played two pre-season games in the Silver Boot competition.

The side's next match is a hotly-anticipated local derby against Brisbane Premier League club, the Ipswich Knights, at Richlands tomorrow night.

As interim manager of the Pride senior side, Boyle has been heartened by the team's development.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, but I'm very very, happy with the way we keep progressing each game,'' Boyle said.

"Given that it's pretty much the first time all these guys have played together, each week they are improving.''

Pride's under-18 and under-20 teams are expected to play curtain raisers to the top side.

Other Pride junior teams in the new NPL state competition will be based at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex, sharing the facility with the Ipswich Junior Rugby League.

Western Pride is holding a business information evening next week inviting potential sponsors to learn more about the newly formed franchise.

The February 21 function is at the North Ipswich Reserve corporate centre, from 6.15pm.

Foundation members will be listed on an honorary board as Pride builds a strong sporting culture in its inaugural year.

The function is also an opportunity for businesses to meet the Western Pride management team of Boyle, Kym Wickstein, Todd Hunt, Dean Gibb and Wendy Spencer.

Boyle appreciates the ongoing backing of key regional club administrators as Ipswich prepares to enter an exciting new stage of football.

"The support that we've had from our feeder clubs is fantastic,'' Boyle said.

"We are there for them and our support is unquestionable.

"If we can make sure that our region is headed in the right direction, everybody is a winner.''




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