Western Pride footballer Joe Duckworth is tackled by a Brisbane Roar Youth player in an earlier NPL game this season.
Western Pride footballer Joe Duckworth is tackled by a Brisbane Roar Youth player in an earlier NPL game this season. Chris Simpson

Pride footballers reach new level in NPL

WESTERN Pride head coach Graham Harvey conceded it was satisfying seeing more things go the way of his dedicated team as it climbs the National Premier Leagues ladder.

Beating FNQ Heat 3-0 on their home pitch last weekend continued Pride's upward movement.

However, it wasn't just securing a vital three points that pleased the mentor.

"I was also very happy to see the boys mature through their performance, not just tonight but over the last few weeks,'' Harvey said.

"I think we threw ourselves into the game, coped with the physical side of it and got the reward.''

Harvey was happy with Pride's improvement at "both ends of the field'', with A-League recruits Harry Sawyer scoring goals up front and Cam Crestani "tightening things up for us as well''.

"We've had a really young squad over the last two years and now we're starting to see some of those boys really mature,'' he said.

"They've played 40, 50, 60 games at this level and now they are really starting to get their results that their performance deserve.

"All around the pitch, everybody is really starting to hit new levels and I think that comes from the experience of having 30-40 games at this level now.''

Pride head to Townsville for Saturday night's NPL state competition catch-up match keen to improve their away record this season.

"Not many sides have come up here (Cairns) this year and won,'' he said in Far North Queensland.

"We knew it would be a challenge. We knew that we've had to compete and once we did that, our football would do the rest.''

Meanwhile, the Ipswich Knights players are also looking to build on their improved showing in the Brisbane Premier League competition. Last Sunday's 3-1 win over Easts during the Coalstars reunion was another deserved reward.

"I have been really happy with our last month of football,'' head coach Danny Wilson said.

"As a unit, we are working hard for one another, which in turn has led to our positive results.

"Sunday was a very special win. It was great to get a good result on such a significant day for the club.''

Wilson said the Knights were almost back to full strength, waiting for Brodie Kenyon to return soon.

He's been impressed with his backline of Declan Murphy, Dale Robinson, Devon Munn, Jack Cabissi and Takuto Kakimoto.

"The have all taken ownership of their respective roles,'' Wilson said.

Wilson said Sunday's opponents Grange Thistle were "a very much improved outfit''.

"Scott Higgins has them working really well,'' he said. "They have one of the best strikers (Tim Smits) in the league. He brings others players into the game in dangerous positions.

"We will need to be work extremely hard to negate his influence on the game.''

The third-placed Ipswich City have a must-win home game against Centenary on Saturday night in their quest to finish top two in the Capital League 2 competition.

Game day

NPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Northern Fury at Brolga Park, Townsville.

BPL: Sunday (5pm) - Ipswich Knights v Grange Thistle at Lanham Park.

CL2: Saturday (6pm) - Ipswich City v Centenary at Sutton Park; Western Spirit v New Farm United at Kippen Park.

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