Western Pride defender Will McFarlane captained his side for the first time in his team's 3-1 win over North Queensland United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Western Pride defender Will McFarlane captained his side for the first time in his team's 3-1 win over North Queensland United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

New football captain keen to go fishing

AFTER leading his revamped team through a danger game, Will McFarlane was planning a weekend fishing trip at Stradbroke Island.

However, McFarlane had plenty to be happy about after captaining Western Pride for the first time in the state league.

The dependable defender stepped up with regular skipper Jesse Rigby injured and his replacement Cam Crestani serving a one-match suspension.

McFarlane helped ensure Pride beat a threatening North Queensland United combination 3-1 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

"It was fantastic but getting that (captaincy) doesn't really change anything,'' McFarlane said after Saturday night's win.

"I still try to lead the team whether I'm captain or not. It doesn't really affect me.''

McFarlane said Rigby and Crestani were right behind him.

"They wished the boys all the best and I think they just knew we were going to get the job done,'' he said.

McFarlane, 23, had previously captained his Coomera team in the Gold Coast competition before joining Western Pride.

But Saturday night's game provided a new test for the durable player.

"For me personally, I've been growing as a footballer and trying to get that possession side of my game improving,'' he said.

Even with 10 men, North Queensland battled hard until the end, reducing the deficit to 2-1 with 15 minutes left.

Second-placed Pride made a scratchy start on Saturday night without Crestani and another hard-working regular Gabby Hawash (suspended) after Fraser Hills left the club through the week.

Pride went 1-0 up after Mitch Bird made a neat run and found the net.

Bird then delivered a superb cross for striker Andy Pengelly to head in the ball and put Pride up 2-0.

After having Michael Eisenhut sent off in the 61st minute for a dangerous tackle, North Queensland added extra life to the game with their goal.

Pride sealed the win when Pengelly tapped in Pride's third goal after terrific lead-up work by Joe Duckworth.

Former Ipswich Grammar School student Duckworth deserved a goal for his efforts. But being a fine team player, he was happy to see Pengelly as the finisher, taking his 2018 NPL goal tally to 11.

With their latest win, Pride consolidated second spot on 36 points behind Olympic (38), who lost 1-0 to Lions.

Moreton Bay United are one point behind Pride with Lions looming large on 33 points, with two games in hand.

Western Pride has a weekend off before meeting the Magpies Crusaders from Mackay at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Ipswich Cup night.

Praising his team for getting the job done, McFarlane also shows his commitment every week travelling regularly from the Gold Coast with teammate Adam Endean to train and play in Ipswich.

Although another Gold Coast product Hills has moved on due to the travel demands, McFarlane was keen to soldier on.

"You've got to deal with it,'' McFarlane said. "Me and Adam we drive together and car pool but it is was it is and you commit to the season.

"I've got a contract to respect and I enjoy playing here so that's where I want to stay.''

And with all NPL teams having a bye weekend, McFarlane welcomed a chance to go fishing and relax.

State of play

NPL: Western Pride 3 (Andrew Pengelly 2, Mitch Bird) def North Queensland United 1 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

Next match: June 16 v Magpies Crusaders (Mackay) at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.



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