Popular Ipswich footballer's next project
HIGHLY sought after Ipswich footballer Peter Drager will miss Sunday's opening Brisbane Premier League game being in Western Australia.
However, he wishes his former team well and hopes to be back on the field next month.
Drager, 26, has reunited with the Knights after two and a half seasons with Western Pride in the National Premier Leagues state competition.
Extra work demands and being unable to commit to NPL training was a major factor in the accomplished striker's decision.
The project manager flew out on Thursday afternoon to Perth where he is working on a massive solar power grid.
The former Golden Boot winner missed half of last season after damaging ligaments in his right knee.
"I had the rest of the year off and I haven't got really got back into it too much this year because of work,'' the Knights recruit said.
"I don't need a knee reconstruction or anything. I just strengthened it up.''
After returning from Western Australia, Drager hopes to play regularly for the Knights.
"Fortunately I am naturally very fit,'' he said, having lined up in a couple of the Knights pre-season games. "I'm not too bad.
"I always keep pretty active.''
The Knights tackle Albany Creek in Sunday afternoon's first BPL game of the new season.
Drager's goal scoring prowess will be a major boost to the BPL side that finished a competitive eighth last season.
Having grown up playing for Rosewood and Raceview United in the church league, Ipswich born and bred Drager quickly established himself as a top quality footballer joining the Knights.
After his stint in the NPL state competition, he'll be back on familiar turf, especially at the Bundamba field where he has scored many goals.
"I know most of the guys there and the coaching staff,'' he said.
"I'm fitting in quite well.''
Among those he's back with are defender Devon Munn, who also switched to the Knights last season after a stint with Pride.
"They are a good bunch of guys and it's good fun playing with them,'' Drager said of the BPL team with a strong Ipswich connection.
With his regular work trips away, Drager said it was hard to train three nights a week with the professional Pride squad.
However, after completing his latest project in Western Australia, he's keen to help the Knights.
"I still keep playing even though it's quite difficult to commit to times,'' the popular footballer said.
"But whenever I get a spare chance I'm happy to play somewhere.
"Going back to Knights was the right option.''
Western Pride open their 2016 National Premier Leagues season against Sunshine Coast at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex next Saturday night.
Meanwhile, 36 NPL teams are expected to contest junior girls and women's state selection matches at the same venue this weekend.
Teams will be chosen for national titles later in the year.
- Brisbane Premier League: Sunday (4pm) - Ipswich Knights v Albany Creek at Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba. Reserves match at 1.45pm.
- Capital League 2: Tomorrow (6pm) - Western Spirit v The Gap at Kippen Park, Goodna; Ipswich City v Acacia Ridge at Sutton Park, Brassall. Reserves matches at 4pm at both regional venues.
- Western Pride is hosting a two-day NPL pre-season state selection carnival for girls and women's teams at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex tomorrow and Sunday.