Footballing milestones rich in club Pride
TWO of Western Pride's most loyal footballers were fittingly rewarded as the club's top side today moved into "unchartered territory''.
Pride's 5-1 away victory over Sunshine Coast moved Pride into outright fourth spot and able to create history by playing finals' football for the first time in the National Premier Leagues state competition.
Pride's latest win also came as Joe Duckworth and Mitch Bird achieved memorable milestones.
In his 62nd NPL match for Pride, Duckworth became the most capped men's player for the club.
Regular attacking teammate Mitch Bird also marked this afternoon's special occasion by scoring four goals in his 50th appearance for Western Pride.
Duckworth was proud of his honour over three seasons, moving ahead of former leading club representative Lincoln Rule.
"I didn't really know until the beginning of the week when someone mentioned it to me,'' he said of his record.
"I love to play for this club.
"But it's not really about me at the moment. We're just on a roll. We won today and into the (top) four so that's what it is all about.''
The former Ipswich Grammar School student was delighted for "Birdy'', who had also scored two goals in the previous away victory over Northern Fury.
Bird's fine finishing today was well supported by Dylan Wenzel-Halls, who netted the other goal. Wenzel-Halls has scored in each of his past five matches.
That pleased head coach Graham Harvey who was happy with how his team came from a goal down to continue their unbeaten run the past six games.
"We bounced back quite well,'' Harvey said.
"We've been a lot more fluid, a lot more energetic (in past games). We seemed to have had a pretty flat week all together at training and I think that showed.
"It's unchartered territory (top four) for them a little bit. It's a good test for them now to see how they can cope.''
Duckworth agreed the prospect of making the finals was "very exciting''.
"For the boys that have been here since the start, it's all about progress,'' Duckworth said.
"We had a tough start and last year but we've always known what we are capable of and we're starting to see the end product of the hard work that's gone into us, thanks to the coaching staff and the core of players. Everything they've done and everything we've done.
"We've worked hard and we are in a good position sure but there's still a long way to go. Still a lot of work to be done so we can't really get too excited.
"It's nice to be still alive at the end of the season.''
Pride's under-18 men consolidated top spot with their latest 9-0 win today.
That came after the Western Pride women broke through for their first win of the season in beating Sunshine Coast 2-1 on Saturday.
Buoyed by being reinstated into next year's state league, Pride came out strong at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex with MacKenzie McAvoy opening the scoring after just four minutes.
Sophie Weatherby doubled the advantage for Pride shortly after the break.
Fire threatened to hurt the Pride late when Tegan Buchman made it 2-1. However, Pride's defence held on for a well-deserved win as the Ipswich-based club prepares for next year's expanded women's state league competition.