Knights bolster talent stocks after losing captain
HAVING lost captain Jack Cabassi for the fast approaching season, Ipswich Knights head coach Andrew Ogden already has a new way to inspire his team.
Ogden plans to build a leadership group for the 2021 Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) season kicking off on March 13.
With a mix of loyal Ipswich players and some quality recruits to choose from, Ogden is excited about creating more opportunities.
"Jack has been really good for us and that but we'll fill that void,'' Ogden said.
"I had a good chat to Jack and he basically thought he was getting on in his football career and Rochedale probably has a realistically better chance of getting to the NPL (National Premier Leagues competition) than we do.
"I think what I'll do with the captaincy this year is involve the players a little bit more.
"I'll name a leadership group because we've got some really good people down there (Bundamba).''
Early contenders include Josh Wilson, Nick Edwards, Ben Taylor, Ben Barrett and 2020 FQPL goalkeeper of the year Zayne Freiberg.
"All those guys are good leaders,'' Ogden said.
The Knights have been back training for two weeks, preparing for a series of trials including a Friday night hitout against Easts at Bundamba.
Although losing Cabassi and players like striker Michael Morrow, Ogden has secured some talented additions.
They include Darryl Barton (Western Pride), Matt Haspels (former Redlands and Western Pride), Nick Piper (Western Pride) and Kalen Fisher-Smith. The former Brisbane Premier League right/centre back is already displaying leadership qualities at training.
Barton joins his brother DJ who played for the Knights last season.
"He looks sharp,'' Ogden said of regular goalscorer Darryl who came off the bench for Western Pride's senior side last year.
Darryl will be valuable upfront with another former Western Pride player Morrow heading to Easts.
The experienced coach has also retained a number of skilful regulars for his FQPL first grade side.
Returning with Wilson, Taylor, Barratt, Edwards and Freiberg are dependable players like Lucky Joe, Mitch Herrmann, Alex Goulding, Flyn Park and Murray Thistlethwaite.
"I'm really happy with the group that we've got at the moment,'' Ogden said.
"Everyone is back with a smile on their face and enjoying themselves.''
While conceding his team was underdone at this stage of the new year, Ogden said the upcoming trials would be hugely beneficial.
After Friday night's home game against Easts, the Knights are planning away trials against South West Thunder, North Star and Mitchelton.
"For Friday night we're probably well underdone to be playing a game but we're not worried about the result,'' Ogden said. "We're just worried about getting some kilometres in the legs.''
The Knights under 23s will play a trial on Sunday.
This year's FQPL format features senior, under-23 (previously under 20) and under-18 divisions.
Three teams will be relegated this year, with a new FQPL2 league to be formed.
Ogden will continue working closely with under-23 coach Bob Maclot after last season's assistant Lucas Wilson has decided to take a break.
Paul Holden will look after the Knights under-18 side this season, having worked with club juniors for a few years.