Ipswich Knights footballer Stu Hinks (right) is keen to step up as the club tackles its pre-season challenges.
Ipswich Knights footballer Stu Hinks (right) is keen to step up as the club tackles its pre-season challenges. Rob Williams

Knights eager to rise above flood

LOSING your tradition-rich home base weeks before a new season is sure to test the character of players and officials.

However, Ipswich Knights’ coach Ian Carson is confident the club’s senior football sides can rise above the massive setback caused by last month’s devastating floods.

The Knights field at Bundamba is unplayable and the clubhouse faces demolition, leaving the players without familiar surroundings to train and play on. The club doesn’t even have power, shower or canteen facilities to host matches.

Thankfully, the 2011 Football Brisbane Division 1 season has been put back two weeks (to March 5) to give flood-affected clubs like the Knights time to make other arrangements.

A positive-thinking Carson yesterday said the flood of torment would strengthen the Knights resolve this year.

“With everything thrown at us, it will make us a bit stronger,” said Carson, who replaces last year’s top side mentor Billy Livingstone.

“There’s nothing we can do about it. We just move on.

“We’ll be right. The boys are pretty keen to get the job done this year.”

The Knights are currently training on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Ebbw Vale – the former home of St Helen’s and Ipswich United.

Carson said Knights officials were negotiating with other clubs to stage pre-season games. That includes a possible midweek warm-up game against Premier League side Easts, possibly at Sutton Park.

Carson has been buoyed by having a strong playing group back training or keen to return this season.

The Knights have also secured experienced campaigner Brodie Kenyon, who has returned after joining Premier League club Taringa midway through last season.

With captain Stephen Hughes retaining the top team leadership role, Carson said his side would be competitive after recent Silver Boot and QT Cup campaigns.

The Knights had a penalty shoot-out victory over Brisbane City and losses to Easts (2-0) and Rochedale (8-1) during the Silver Boot series.

While those games were on, the Knights fielded Metro and Reserve grade players in the QT Cup tournament which was won by Oxley on Saturday night.

After a mid-week 5-0 loss to Ipswich City, the Knights beat Spirit 2-0 in their final game on Saturday night.

Carson was impressed with players like Justin Smith, Jordan Donnelly, Shane Bryant and Adam Clay during the QT Cup series where new reserve grade coach Nick Paterson also ran his first side.

“We don’t want to go too hard, too early this season,” Carson said, having changed his team’s structure to a 4-4-2 formation this year.

Carson welcomed back Kenyon and was keen for senior players like Peter Hinks to recover properly before returning to training.

The coach is also happy to see last season’s dedicated Reserve grade players like Stu Hinks determined to step up.

The Knights’ first premiership game is scheduled against Southside Eagles on March 5. The matches originally set down for February 18 and 25 will be played at later dates.



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