Ahead of this weekend’s PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2017 Grand Final, we look at the host Club, Brisbane Strikers from Football Queensland.
The Strikers will be playing in their first ever PS4 NPL Grand Final this Saturday, and earnt hosting rights for the decider thanks to their impressive accumulation of points throughout the Elimination & Semi Final phases of the competition.
ROAD TO THE GRAND FINAL
Brisbane Strikers ventured to Tasmania to play their opening fixture in the PS4 NPL 2017 Finals Series, taking on South Hobart FC, the Premiers from the apple isle.
Brisbane quickly shot out of the blocks as goals from Jake McLean and Ryan Palmer fired the Strikers into a quick-fire 2-0 lead after just ten minutes.
It took just over fifty minutes for Jeremy Stewart to slot Brisbane’s third from the penalty spot, before South Hobart FC mounted a comeback. It wasn’t enough though as a second to McLean iced a 4-2 win.
The warmer conditions in their Semi-Final against Edgeworth were a welcome change from the chilly conditions south of the bass strait, as the mercury reached 36 degrees before their clash with NPL Northern NSW Premiers Edgeworth Eagles FC.
Brisbane controlled much of the opening half and deserved their 1-0 lead courtesy of Stewart, and after a tight second half Michael Lee sealed their place in the Grand Final with a neat penalty in stoppage time.
BRISBANE'S KEY PLAYERS
Henslee has been outstanding again for the Strikers in 2017, ensuring their defence was the most miserly in the NPL Queensland. Henslee is the driving force behind the Strikers’ superb backline and to add to his defence prowess, Henslee is also very dangerous from set pieces. Melbourne City certainly found out the hard way, as he struck in their Westfield FFA Cup clash last season. At 34 years of age Henslee has a wealth of experience, and is a seasoned campaigner in Queensland having spent time at Peninsula Power and Sunshine Coast Fire before arriving at Brisbane. He won the Strikers’ Player of the Year Award in 2016 and would love nothing more than to add a PS4 NPL 2017 Grand Final win this weekend to his already impressive resume.
The ultimate clubman, the Strikers’ skipper Michael Angus has been a rock in the middle of the park once again this season. He is in his 8th season at the club and has some pedigree having spent some time at the Queensland (now Brisbane) Roar Youth in his younger years. In his defensive midfield role, Angus is the glue which holds the side together and it is not surprising that he was regarded as Brisbane’s best in 2015, winning their Player of the Year Award. The man from Toowoomba is at the peak of his powers at 27 years of age and will be crucial in their quest to take down Heidelberg.
WHAT THE COACH SAID (OWEN BAKER):
“Heidelberg have had a great year. You can see that clearly from their (Westfield) FFA Cup run and their performance in the PS4 NPL 2017 Finals Series. We know they are going to be a tough team, they look like quite a physical team. They have a good strike force with Kenny [Athiu] and having players like Sean Ellis working off him. We know it will be a difficult game. They play lots of football and have had lots of big games this year.”
On their Semi-Final win…
“Going to Edgeworth on the weekend and coming away with a clean sheet was a great achievement and something that we worked very hard on and spoke about during the week. What that allowed us to do was get out midfielders on the ball and create chances. We want to get the likes of Jake McLean, Michael Lee and Ryan Palmer on the ball as much as possible. If we do that, we know it brings other players into the game and hopefully create chances for ourselves.”
*Lead image courtesy of Michele Pitman