Drager tough as teak

Fearless Ipswich Knights player Andy Drager rises above the pack during a Division 1 match last season.
Fearless Ipswich Knights player Andy Drager rises above the pack during a Division 1 match last season.

BEING the tenacious sportsman he is, Andy Drager wasn't going to let a head cut stop him continuing.

Applying some trusty tape to his damaged eyebrow, Drager finished last Sunday's Division 1 football match.

He was only off the field a few minutes during the second half in Ipswich Knights' 1-1 draw with Moggill at Bellbowrie.

Seven stitches and a few days later, Drager is ready to help the Knights in tonight's rescheduled game against Logan at Bundamba.

"I just went up for a header and I headed it and then the other guy came through and collected me," Drager, 27, said yesterday. "I should be fine."

Powerfully-built team man Drager missed the early part of last season after slicing his leg open at training.

He needed a trip to hospital and several stitches in his exposed shinbone after coming off second best against a goal post.

The Ipswich engineer returned from the pre-season mishap to be one of his team's best.

"I don't mind getting cut actually," he grinned.

"You don't even feel it compared to when you can sprain your ankle and be out for a week."

That's the type of player he is. Deal with the problem and get on with the job.

Despite the inconvenience of last weekend's injury, Drager is anxious to continue his new role with the Knights.

Having been a central defender for much of his senior career, he is working up the flanks this season mixing his trademark quality defence with a quick transition into attack.

"I actually get a few chances at shots on goal," Drager said, having played every premiership game this season.

"I enjoy being able to go forward more and be more attacking.

"Definitely I have to get a bit fitter though as well. There's quite a bit more running than centre back. But I'm really liking it."

While the Knights could easily be up with the leaders on 18 points, they are mid-table on eight.

Head coach Ashley Hempstead said the Knights had hit the crossbar at least 10 times in recent weeks, declaring "there's not a lot of luck happening there".

But after a better team effort last weekend, Hempstead is upbeat. "I think we've turned the corner," he said naming the same side to play Logan tonight.

One of those players to hit the crossbar last weekend was Drager.

"We're doing the right things and making the right chances," the former Premier League player said.

"All the goals that are scored against us seem to be from small mistakes, like someone slips over or that sort of thing.

"Generally we are playing okay.

"We've just got to stop making a few silly mistakes at the back and convert a few more chances up front."

GAME DAY

Tonight (game rescheduled due to Brisbane Roar playing in Sunday's grand final): Ipswich Knights v Logan Lightning at Eric Evans Reserve, Bun- damba. Reserves at 6.30pm.

Main game at 8.30pm.

Topics:  football, ipswich, knights



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