Western Pride footballers enjoy a lunch together before playing New Zealand in Ipswich that night.
Western Pride footballers enjoy a lunch together before playing New Zealand in Ipswich that night.

Preparing to face the best

IF points were awarded for commitment to preparation, Western Pride's top football team would be leading the competition.

Extra planning on nutrition and sleep rewarded the National Premier Leagues side with victory on a flight north earlier this season.

However, the Ipswich-based team took it a step further in the lead-up to their latest match against New Zealand.

Club football operations manager and director of senior men's football Dan Burnell played an important role working with Western Pride's coaching staff.

The goal was to give the players a taste of how an international footballer might prepare.

"Our intention was to create an experience for our players, one that they'd remember other than just the 90 minutes of football they'd play,'' Burnell said.

"We wanted to replicate an international playing environment the best way we could to really enhance the occasion.''

After training on Tuesday night, the players showered and had meals together at the Briggs Rd Sporting Complex.

A few Pride staff drove the playing group to the Ipswich International Hotel where the team checked in and the players managed an early night to rest after the session.

The following morning, Pride had a group breakfast in club attire.

A few players then went out for a morning coffee, others enjoyed some down- time privately, some got on their playstations or chatted.

"We allowed a few hours for them to do what made them feel relaxed and most comfortable at an individual level,'' Burnell said.

"At 11.45am, we met in the hotel lobby and went on a team walk through the mall and down to River Heart Parklands to loosen the legs and catch some fresh air.

"Our walk back landed us at Viva Italia where lunch was booked for 1pm. The players carbo-loaded and began match day hydration at this point.''

Burnell, a travel consultant, earlier arranged for five rooms to have late check outs at the hotel until the Pride entourage departed for the game.

After lunch, the players had an enforced rest period at the hotel from 2-4pm, where players could choose how they spent their down- time.

Most listened to music and had a sleep.

At 4pm, the coach arrived and the team travelled together to Briggs Rd to begin the next phase of match preparations at the ground.

"We believe these little touches behind the scenes, the properly planned and executed routines off the park, play an integral part in delivering high performance and great results on the park for our senior group,'' Burnell said.

"The New Zealand match was a once in a lifetime opportunity for some of our players, and a fantastic occasion to showcase our club and level of professionalism we strive for to the Ipswich public.''

"Clever'' Kiwis

STILL on the historic New Zealand match and some fascinating material emerged from past games in Ipswich.

Queensland Football History Project Group committee chairman Simon Boeghein provided some handy records.

He emailed a Courier Mail account of a match between Ipswich and New Zealand played at the North Ipswich Reserve on June 2, 1923.

New Zealand won 4-2 but should have scored more goals according to the story at the time.

"The New Zealand soccer players defeated a representative Ipswich eleven on the Ipswich reserve on Saturday afternoon by four goals to two, giving a clever and, at times, brilliant exhibition of football,'' the story read.

"The Ipswich combination was outclassed in every department of the game, and the margin of points between the teams was larger than the scores would indicate.

"Had one or two of the New Zealand forwards not been so eager when shooting for open goals, New Zealand would have won by at least six goals to two.

"The match was really a try-out for the visitors, and they fielded their best eleven.''

Ipswich's goal scorers were E Rumble and Tom Hainsworth.

Other Ipswich players were goalie G Hughes; fullbacks A Burns and C Gedge; halfbacks J Williams, L Warrell and G Teasdale; and forwards J Edwards, captain D Potts and W Warrell joining Rumble and Hainsworth.

The game was witnessed by between 4000 and 5000 spectators.

Wednesday night's match attracted more than 1200 fans, with one visitor asking why he needed to attend Brisbane Roar games when Ipswich had such a high quality encounter to watch.

Lincoln nose best

IPSWICH Knights footballer Lincoln Rule, the selfie king, was left with an unusual photo for his collection.

The Premier League player had a shot taken on Snapchat, showing his rather large nose. He suffered the injury after copping a knock in last Saturday night's 4-3 loss to Peninsula Power.

Phantom has been told the popular sportsman has been staying indoors until his nose returns to normal. That is except for a trip to the pub.

QT read in Canada

PHANTOM is thrilled to see QT stories still travelling around the world.

Last week's piece on Ipswich ice man Anthony Kimlin playing for the Sydney Bears in this year's Australian Ice Hockey League attracted attention in Edmonton.

The daughter of Tivoli grandmother Beverley Jenkinson still follows the local news from Canada. Melissa saw the story about Kimlin on the QT website and shared the news with Beverley.

The reason for the excitement was that Beverley's grandson John Penney is a promising young player, born in Ipswich now playing in Edmonton.

Beverley, nicknamed Nan Nan, adores her grandson and plans to return the favour by sending any future QT print stories overseas to Melissa.

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