Western Pride goalkeeping recruit Griffin Bambach.
Western Pride goalkeeping recruit Griffin Bambach.

Keeping Pride on track through new recruit, extra training

A HIGHLY regarded goalkeeping recruit, a productive session with Pride's women and a more settled training structure. Western Pride's National Premier Leagues men's side head to Toowoomba this weekend focused on a breakthrough first win of the season.

Head coach Terry Kirkham has signed 193cm goalkeeper Griffin Bambach in time for Saturday night's Round 6 encounter at Clive Berghofer Stadium.

The former Gold Coast United custodian arrived as regular Pride number one net guarder Max Davison deals with a meniscus tear in his knee having just come back from a serious injury setback last season.

With Pride captain Cam Crestani suspended for one game, Kirkham said Bambach's arrival was a timely boost preparing to play South West Queensland Thunder on their home turf.

"I've scoured nationally for a goalkeeper,'' Kirkham said.

"Number one: we need two goalkeepers and we don't have that. Number two: Max is carrying an injury and that was a concern as well.

"We were lucky to get him (Bambach).''

The Pride coach also appreciated a Monday night training session with the club's senior women's side, which is overseen by former Australian Matildas goalkeeper Belinda Kitching.

"We put on a bit of a mini World Cup with them and they did the running that our boys did,'' Kirkham said.

"It was just a good initiative. Belinda Kitching and I have spoken about a number of things and starting to work together a bit more.''

With an NPL bye last week-end, Kirkham organised a Saturday morning session for his side chasing first points for the 2019 season.

"We're still working on many things,'' he said, having spent recent weeks learning about everybody while streamlining a new team structure.

"It's now getting into a stage where that I understand every-one in the group. I understand the levels that everyone is at . . . and then try to find a style that we can play where really quickly, 22 players are going to be able to fit into that style of play and understand it very quickly considering we don't have much time.''

Despite a tough start to the season, Kirkham said the players remained upbeat about what they can achieve.

"We're actually very, very positive the group,'' he said, happy with how players given chances have responded to the state league environment.

"The morale is good and it's a very positive feeling.

"It's now a case of moving forward.

"At the moment, the main thing now is to get this first team picking up points.

"When I look at the next few weeks, we have got three games there (against SW Qld, Redlands United and Sunshine Coast) that we need to make sure that we are really productive in . . . and hopefully we can get on a bit of a roll.''

Saturday's 6pm clash in Toowoomba is followed on Sunday by a big afternoon of women's football.

Western Pride's senior women and under-18 girls play Eastern Suburbs at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex in matches at 1pm and 3pm, following earlier junior games at their Ipswich base.

Game day

NPL: Saturday (5pm) - Western Pride v SWQ Thunder at Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba.

NPL women: Sunday (3pm) - Western Pride v Eastern Suburbs at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex, Flinders View. U18 game at 1pm.

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