Benefits of working together highlighted in derby duel
FORMER A-League footballer Karl Dodd stood outside his team's dressing room putting on a brave face.
He always does when his National Premier Leagues team suffers a setback.
Dodd is the ultimate professional, focused on doing everything he can to develop elite players and strengthen regional ties.
That's why the Western Pride's first year mentor held no malice towards his winning opponents, a team playing in the Brisbane Premier League but also representing Ipswich.
"Congratulations to the Ipswich Knights. It was a good contest and I wish them all the best,'' Dodd said after his team's 1-0 FFA Cup fifth round loss.
"I think the region is starting to get behind one another. Hopefully the Knights can go on and represent the region (in the BPL).''
Dodd hoped the football fans at Bundamba on Wednesday night also embrace Western Pride in their home games at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
"We try to play an attractive style of football,'' he said. "It's always entertaining.''
Knights head coach and former Premier League captain Stewart Drinkeld agreed.
"I think Football Ipswich did a great job putting on the fireworks and the big speakers,'' he said.
"There was a good-sized crowd here tonight and it was videoed, so that's good for the game.
"It's showing that we still have good supporters out here for both clubs. It's good for the game and it's good for our league.''
While they are not weekly rivals on the field, Western Pride and the Knights are drawing on similar talent pools and fan base.
That's why Wednesday night's latest "local derby'' was so important.
It highlighted what can be achieved when Football Queensland, Football Brisbane and Football Ipswich work together.
It was the biggest crowd at a regional football match in some time. The fans lining Eric Evans Oval got involved in the game and generated some terrific revenue for the Knights.
The decision-makers need to learn from this experience and build on it for the future.
That starts with better match scheduling to avoid regional teams playing on the same nights at the same time.
It's an issue I've hammered for some time.
After all the positives on Wednesday night, it's time any self-interests were cast aside and the three football bodies formed stronger ties.