Quality Roar line-up to entice big crowd
WHEN Mike Mulvey last coached in Ipswich, it was with the Knights men's team in its inaugural season.
Fifteen years later, Mulvey will return to Ipswich as head coach of A-League powerhouse team, the Brisbane Roar.
He's excited about bringing the Roar to the North Ipswich Reserve for a national competition pre-season game against Melbourne Victory.
The September 14 showdown will be the biggest football match Ipswich has hosted in decades.
However, Mulvey hasn't forgotten his 1998 season at Bundamba. He coached the newly formed Knights to the finals, losing to Brisbane Lions on penalties.
"It was a great year. I really enjoyed it,'' Mulvey said.
"I actually got Coach of the Year that year, which was pleasing.
"There's some great people in Ipswich and we're still friends today.''
After finishing with the Knights, Mulvey took up an appointment with the Queensland Academy of Sport women's program before working his way up the ranks.
Preparing for a new A-League season, Mulvey is focused on having Roar ready for another finals assault.
He believes a more settled start this season - featuring important pre-season games like next Saturday's clash in Ipswich - will help the former two-time A-League champions.
"When you come in mid-season, you have to hit the ground running,'' Mulvey said of his late role last season.
"We've consolidated and we've recruited quite well.
"We've got (former Perth midfielder) Liam Miller and (Socceroos midfielder) Matt McKay in and young guy Dimitri Petratos.
"That's a good sign.''
The return of Matt McKay is a huge boost for the Roar. "He's an inaugural Brisbane Roar player, he's been with the Socceroos and playing overseas for a couple of years,'' coach Mike Mulvey said.
"He's fitted in like he's never been gone.''
Last season's fifth-placed team also includes fan favourite Besart Berisha.
"He's undisputedly the No.1 striker in the country,'' Mulvey said. "Berisha is looking very sharp at training. He scored a hat-trick the other week against Melbourne Heart.''
Mulvey was keen for his best players to be part of the Roar entourage heading to the North Ipswich Reserve on September 14.
"We expect to bring our full squad for the game against Melbourne Victory for sure,'' Mulvey said.
"That's part of the reason for bringing the game to Ipswich.
"It's a very strong football community and we have quite a number of supporters that travel up from Ipswich to watch us play.
"You couldn't get a bigger game than Melbourne Victory coming to town.''
More than 3000 fans watched the Roar play Ipswich Invitational teams in the past three games at the Reserve. That crowd figure could be doubled on Saturday week.
"It's about promoting the game and we're both in preparation phase,'' Mulvey said.
"We need to make sure that we are ready to go by the start of the season.''
BRISBANE Roar head coach Mike Mulvey said his team's playing style would be showcased during their Ipswich visit on September 14.
"It's very much a possession-based attacking game,'' he said.
"One thing that I'm very big on is entertainment.
"We trust the players to deliver that on the field and that's why we've attracted the kind of players that we've attracted.
"Winning with style. That's the key.''
Massive week in Ipswich
The Brisbane Roar will play Melbourne Victory in an A-League pre-season game at the North Ipswich Reserve on September 14. Ticket information at eventbrite.com.au
Other Roar activities in Ipswich next week:
- Wednesday: Corporate golf day at Brookwater Golf and Country Club. Contact Courtney Wisemantel on 3123 7119.
- Thursday (6.30pm-7.30pm): Player appearances, including Michael Theo, Dimitri Petratos and Henrique, at Riverlink (outside The Coffee Club).
- Friday (12.30pm): Sportsman's lunch at North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre. Tickets still available for the public. Contact Kym Wickstein on 0418 198 072 or Pat Boyle on 0409 328 806.