Stewart Drinkeld
Stewart Drinkeld Rob Williams

Drinkeld taking time to assess Knights future

WISE coach Stewart Drinkeld was planning to consider his options before committing to another season with the Ipswich Knights.

The Ipswich Girls' Grammar School teacher and former Premier League player enjoys higher level coaching.

However, as other elite level regional coaches will appreciate, it can be demanding maintaining the work-family life balance.

"The job was busier than what I first thought,'' Drinkeld said. "The hours that you need to put in is a lot if you want to do it right.

"I'm going to have a week (off) and a deep breath and sit down with the wife and work out what the plan is for next year.''

The Knights wrapped up its Brisbane Premier League season with a 2-1 defeat to Rochedale, for a record of eight wins, three draws and 11 losses.

 

"A pass mark would have been 50-50,'' Drinkeld said.

However, the experienced footballer saw plenty of positives for the club with improved performances by the under-18 players and avoiding relegation for the second year.

"Our main goal for this season was to survive as a club and we did that comfortably, which is great,'' Drinkeld said.

"There was a few games there we could have snapped some points and the season might be a lot different because we are not that far away in a number of grades - pushing that top four.

"The first team is still quite young. Hopefully we'll retain most of the players and we'll progress and have a good young strong squad next year.''

The Knights club spirit was also strong.

New dad Andrew Korner came on in the second half of the Reserve grade match to play a final time with good mate Trent Griffiths, who was retiring.

Korner had been celebrating the birth of daughter Eva Jane with wife Emily during the week.

Griffiths and another outstanding Ipswich servant Nick Parfitt bowed out in the Knights' 4-2 loss to Rochedale.

Korner typified the mateship in the club by wanting to play despite being injured in recent weeks.

"It's sad to see them finish up,'' Drinkeld said, having played Premier League with Griffiths and Parfitt during the 2000s.

"Griffo has been a stalwart of the club for a number of years and so has Nicko.

"They've given everything they've got to give to the club so they can walk away happy.''

At nearly 37, Drinkeld has also played his final top level game, after helping out the Reserves on Saturday night. - David Lems

State of Play

  • Brisbane Premier League: Rochedale 2 def Ipswich Knights 1 (Motoki Kakehi).
  • Reserves: Rochedale 4 def Ipswich Knights 2 (Matt Savini).
  • Capital League 2: Ipswich City 2 (Liam Mercer 2) def Souths 0; Pine Hills 2 def Western Spirit 1 (Jay Johnson). Reserves: Souths def Ipswich City 4-1, Western Spirit drew Pine Hills 1-1.

 



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