Pride taking shape after another handy win over Lions
WITH Western Pride's National Premier Leagues season opener just weeks away, the squad is looking settled and ready to meet any challenge.
That's exactly how head coach Graham Harvey likes it well into his first full pre-season with the Ipswich-based state league club.
Harvey did a commendable job coming in at the back end of last season, replacing former head coach Karl Dodd.
After becoming a new dad to son Joshua late last year, Harvey has been able to oversee a smooth start to Pride's 2016 season.
"I'm comfortable with the squad I have,'' Harvey said.
"The numbers are good and the under 20s having been doing a pre-season as well so there's good healthy competition right throughout the two top sides.
"We've had quite good variety in the opponents that play different styles, different formations so it's been a good challenge for the boys.''
Pride continued their NPL preparations with a 2-1 win over Brisbane Premier League club Lions at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex last night.
"There were a few new faces so it was good to give those guys good competitive game time,'' Harvey said.
"In the Silver Boot (pre-season competition), I thought we played quite well and probably didn't get some of the results our performances might have deserved.
"Since then, we've done okay.''
Pride are off to the Gold Coast on Saturday for another trial match before facing Brisbane Roar's youth team the week before the NPL season opener. That is against the Sunshine Coast on February 27 at Pride's Briggs Road home base.
Harvey fielded a combination of more seasoned and fringe NPL players in last night's match.
Last season's captain Jesse Rigby has been re-appointed to lead the side, providing midfield stability around experienced players like Lincoln Rule, working with attacking speedsters like Mitchell Bird and Nielsen Brown.
"It's important for this development league that he (Rigby) gets that responsibility,'' Harvey said.
"We've still got that leadership group as well.''
The focus on young talent will ensure Pride has plenty of scoring potential, supported by quality defenders Joel Haack, Gab Hawash and South African Alistair Wallis, who was one of the Ipswich Knights best players in recent seasons before suffering injury setbacks.
Duncan Short is Pride's new goalkeeper, replacing English-bound Bon Scott.
Western Pride's 2016 NPL senior squad: Duncan Short, Joel Haack, Daniel McHenery, Shaun Core, Lincoln Rule, Jesse Rigby, Nielen Brown, Mitchell Bird, Sean Karambasis, Lachlan Bond, Jordan Lambi, Gabriel Hawash, Will McFarlane, Jake Minnett, Corey Lucas, Doug Brown, Dylan Williams, Ronan Geoghegan, Daniel Kleinhans, Geoff MacIntyre, Adam Endean, Alistair Wallis.