We're ready for a dog fight: Hews
By Steve Pitman
As far as Brisbane Strikers coach Chay Hews is concerned, all is in readiness for the club’s first tilt at cup tie football for seven years in tomorrow night’s Football Queensland Cup clash with Brisbane Premier League side Capalaba Bulldogs at John Fredericks Park.
Straight after taking training tonight, Hews declared his men were ready for the challenge of taking on the Bulldogs and insisted that Sunday’s shattering experience of losing through a last-minute own goal to Palm Beach in the NPL is more likely to motivate his players than deflate them.
“Tonight looked good. The boys looked sharp. I think they’re buzzing and ready for it”, Hews said.
“Like I said the other day (immediately after the Palm Beach game), I think when you suffer a loss it hurts a bit and you want to get out there as quickly as you can and play another game”.
Hews said his players had taken no significant injuries out of Sunday. Everyone other than already-injured skipper Jonti Richter is fit to line up again if necessary.
“We have to be mindful that we do have a game on Saturday, which is a pretty quick turnaround, and that we’ve also got to travel to Cairns”, Hews said.
“But I have been keeping an eye on some of the guys with some niggly injuries and at the moment we’re lucky to be able to select fit and able bodies. If anyone is struggling they’ll at best be on the bench. But at the moment in our squad I’ve been pretty happy with everyone, so I’m quite happy to field anyone I’ve got in my first team squad and I feel confident that they’ll do a job.
“I’ve been pretty happy with them at training and the guys’ attitudes. The players have been really good, so it’s all really positive going into it. Obviously it would have been nice to get the win on the weekend, but that’s football and that’s life and you’ve got to move on from that quickly”.
The Strikers are not the only team taking a 3-2 loss into the cup tie. Capalaba lost by the same scoreline to Albany Creek in the BPL on the weekend and are currently second-last in their league. However, with three NPL sides (Sunshine Coast Fire, Redlands United and Brisbane City) having already crashed at their first Football Queensland Cup hurdle, the Strikers are in no position to underestimate their opponents or to think that league form or reputations will count for anything after they cross the white line on Wednesday night.
Hews, who experienced knockout cup-tie football himself as a player in Sweden, said he was no stranger to the kind of motivation that Capalaba would take into the game.
“I was in a team that wasn’t one of the bigger teams in Sweden. You’d come up on the odd occasion against a big team and it was always a big deal for yourself – you wanted to play well – and it was always a big deal for the club”, he said.
“It’s something that I think has been lacking from Australian football. I think it’s awesome and I’m really happy that the guys get a chance to get a taste of it and hopefully we can progress”.
Hews said he did not think his squad which, like most other NPL squads, has an emphasis on youth will be caught unawares by the different nature of cup tie football.
“Hopefully we’ve got enough boys with experience that can guide them. And they’ve got to be up for it”, he said.
“Capalaba’s a good side and they’re going to be up for it, so we are going to have to match them or we could be in for a real tough night.
“I think they’ll learn pretty quick what’s going to be on the night”.
Hews also said that, despite the teams playing in different leagues, his team would be armed with knowledge about how the Bulldogs are likely to shape up in a tactical sense.
“Without giving too much away, I’ve done my research and I’ve talked to some people about what to expect from them”, Hews said. “In certain areas they might be able to hurt us, and I’ve tried to find out some ways we might be able to cause them some problems.
“We’ve looked at a bit of a plan tonight and we’ll go into it tomorrow in a positive way and I think we can get a result”.
Kick-off at John Fredericks Park is scheduled for 7.00 pm.