Knights showcase talent in skilful youth, wise old 'Crocs'
HAVING been directly involved with the Ipswich Knights "young'' and "old'' this season, Danny Wilson is understandably excited about this weekend's grand finals.
The loyal Knights club vice-president has played a key role in recent seasons bolstering Ipswich's under-20 program at Bundamba.
The former Premier League defender has also enjoyed having a run with the club's mighty "Crocs'' City League 6 side.
So with both Knights teams in grand finals, Wilson was proud to see Ipswich football still producing future top graders while giving some wise old heads fun in the game they love.
He was particularly pleased to see the Knights under-20 Football Queensland Premier League competition side reach Sunday's grand final at Underwood Park.
In what's shaping as a superb showdown, the fourth-placed Knights tackle Rochedale fresh from eliminating competition leaders Sunshine Coast 1-0 last Sunday night.
"It's been a general progression throughout the year,'' Wilson said of the Knights side playing for end of season honours.
"At the start of the year when we picked the 18's and 20's squad, we actually only had two players who had to play under 20s so it was a very young squad we went in with.
"To get the success that we've got in our first year in the FQPL has been a fantastic achievement.''
Wilson praised coaches Andy Ogden (under 20), Bob Maclot (under 18) and Andy White (goalkeeping) for a "fantastic job'' this season developing the club's youth.
"They've instilled a lot of confidence in the players,'' Wilson said.
"Oggy and Bobbie have got their own style of football that they like to play and the players have all bought into it.
"They've got the results, which they've certainly worked really hard to achieve.''
Second-placed Rochedale, guided by another respected development coach Mark Cruse, thrashed Peninsula 9-0 to secure the home grand final.
That's set up a terrific challenge for the young Knights footballers gaining plenty of valuable experience in premier league football this year.
Before the Knights under 20s strive to finish their positive season on a high, the Crocs want to take a bite out of the Centenary Stormers in Saturday's encounter at Bundamba.
The minor premiership-winning Crocs advanced directly to the grand final after beating Annerley 6-1 in the first weekend of finals.
The Crocs won 15 games, drawing one and only losing two on their way to the finals.
Centenary finished the regular season in third with 11 wins, one draw and six losses.
Both teams have a win against each other this season.
But even without Dan Liddy and Dane Richardson at a wedding on Hamilton Island, Wilson said the 20-man squad had enough depth and quality to get the job done.
Wilson has enjoyed linking with some of Ipswich's best footballers of the past in the Crocs side.
"We're pretty lucky,'' Wilson said. "A lot of the players have played the game for a long time so it's just really good that we can get together.''
He said the old skills were often still there, scoring some good goals. And the Crocs always enjoyed a beer after their football fun.
Bulls eye final glory
The Ipswich City Bulls have two teams involved in grand finals this weekend.
The club's City League 3 team, which finished second, takes on Bayside United away on Saturday night.
The Bulls City League 7 (Silver) team travel to Wakerley Park to face Souths United on Saturday night.
FQPL U20 grand final: Sunday (5.30pm) - Ipswich Knights v Rochedale at Underwood Park.
City League 3 (Silver): Saturday (6.45pm) - Ipswich City Bulls v Bayside United at Don Randall Oval.
City League 6 (Gold) grand final: Saturday (3pm) - Ipswich Knights v Centenary Stormers at Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba.
City League 7 (Silver) grand final: Saturday (7pm) - Ipswich City Bulls v Souths United at Wakerley Park.