Freiberg return boosts Knights
THE surprise return of number one goalkeeper Zayne Freiberg has given the Ipswich Knights a welcome boost for tomorrow’s Division 1 clash against Pine Rivers United at Bundamba.
Freiberg turned up unexpectedly at training on Tuesday night, fresh and keen to play after resting a bulged disc injury in his back.
He was quickly welcomed back by coach Ian Carson, after the Knights’ teenage replacement Travis Arnold flew to Central Queensland to start a new job in the mines.
The Knights also have experienced campaigner Nigel Lucas able to assist after he played for the victorious Reserve grade side last Sunday.
“We’re ready to go,” Carson said.
“He (Freiberg) is back and I’m happy.
“It’s good Nigel is ready and he’s working hard at training and he looks good.
“It just gives good support for the boys.”
Freiberg, 22, said his injury needed management and he was told by nationally recognised Ipswich doctor Roy Saunders to strengthen the muscles around his discs.
“It’s all pretty good,” Freiberg said, returning after his back seized up playing against Western Spirit on May 8.
“I was expecting to be back for the Ipswich City game (June 17) but I recovered pretty well.
“I’ve just got to do a lot of core strength work to keep them (the discs) in line.
“The last couple of weeks have been really frustrating. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines.”
Carson noticed Freiberg’s enthusiasm at training.
“He’s running around like a three-year-old,” the coach said.
Freiberg said it was terrific returning with the Knights clinging to top spot on 24 points.
However, North Star (second on goal difference) and Queensland Lions (third) are just three points behind and have two games in hand.
Western Spirit is also in striking distance on 20 points.
Carson is looking for maximum points against mid-table team Pine Rivers United after the Knights disappointing 2-2 draw with Slacks Creek last Sunday.
“On Tuesday night, we sat down as a group and we spoke about where we are at and where we want to be,” he said.
“The main point was I wasn’t disappointed with the effort. It was just their execution.”
Carson said the Knights had made a pact to play without making excuses this season.
“We were clearly a stronger team but we didn’t show it,” he said.
“The boys put their hands up.
“We accept we weren’t on the money. They’ll rise to the challenge.”
Carson is keen to bring Ben Hunt back into his wide role tomorrow, moving Alex Jimmink into the defensive line.
Trent Griffiths is likely to start tomorrow’s 3pm game after coming off the bench last week.