Forget any flak: Pride’s young guns headed for top futures
AFTER a deserved reward following a brutal fortnight of learning, Western Pride are keeping this year's Football Queensland Premier League season in perspective.
While winning remains a major goal during a hectic schedule of matches, the main objective is development.
That's why head coach Andrew Catton was pleased to see his young players secure a 2-1 victory over Southside Eagles - just days after losing 4-0 to Wynnum and giving up a lead to go down 2-1 to Holland Park.
"The mental attributes that we demonstrated were really positive,'' Catton said.
"They didn't stop trying. They were pretty willing to do whatever they had to do to make sure we got the win.
"The performance wasn't outstanding. Some of the individual moments were good.''
They included midfielder Killian Flavin netting a double in the first half and the determined effort of 19-year-old centre half Ben Piper.
With Pride relying largely on home-grown talent, that is what gives the busy Ipswich Grammar School co-ordinator Catton added incentive to keep showing faith in his players.
Exciting prospects like Piper, Connor Maynard, Jacob Advaney, Aidan Norris, Jackson Bray, Declan Wenzel-Halls, Will Orford and Griffith Trevett-Lyall give Pride plenty of hope for future success.
"That's the important thing,'' Catton said. "There's got to be perspective here.
"When we played Wolves, there were a lot of boys that had played for a long time and were very experienced.
"All our young players will be better for the run.
"Every game the young boys will get better. That's what we are trying to do.''
Piper made his senior team debut a week earlier against the Wolves.
"For a 19-year-old kid to come in and play centre back is not easy, especially when you've got another 19-20-year-old next to you,'' Catton said.
"It's a big challenge for them.
"They cop a bit of flak because they are young and they make inexperienced decisions but they are going to be very good players in the next few years.''
The Pride juniors have displayed incredible promise at different stages playing in a higher league.
Trevett-Lyall, Piper, Norris and Bray were members of Pride's grand final-winning under-18 side in 2018.
Norris, Bray, Advaney, Piper and Orford were in the Pride under-18 side which won the league a year earlier.
Catton is encouraged seeing this year's Pride under-18 and under-20 sides also progressing well.
"There's a lot of boys in there who are going to be knocking on the door real soon,'' Catton said.
Saturday night's win over Southside Eagles came after the back-to-back losses played just days apart.
"We should have beaten Holland Park, there's no question about it,'' Catton said.
"We were just really immature that night I felt.
"Then the Friday night when we played Wolves, we played like a team that had played two games in three days.''
But that's part of the fast-track learning Pride's young players must take on board and benefit from in premier league football.
Pride's tough schedule continues against Souths United on Wednesday night at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. That match is set to kick off at 7pm.
FQPL: Western Pride 2 (Killian Flavin 2) def Southside Eagles 1.
U20: Western Pride def Southside Eagles 3-1.
U18: Western Pride def Southside Eagles 4-1.