Magpies Crusaders United coach Tom Ballantyne. Picture: Alison Langevad Photography.
Magpies Crusaders United coach Tom Ballantyne. Picture: Alison Langevad Photography.

SEASON PREVIEW: Magpies Crusaders join Mackay Prem

MAGPIES Crusaders boss Tom Ballantyne has his sights set on making the best of “an interesting turn of events”, as his former NPL Queensland outfit prepares for life in the Mackay Premier League.

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Just how Ballantyne’s men will upset the established order remains to be seen, but in the experienced coach’s eyes, his only goal is to prepare his squad for a return to state league competition next year.

“We spoke about it relatively early on when COVID hit, about some of the silver linings we could take from the season,” Ballantyne said.

“This is a great chance for (some younger players) and guys on the fringe of the NPL to establish themselves and become regulars for next season.”

Ballantyne said his involvement in the local competition this season would also give him a chance to better scout potential squad players for 2021.

Season previews:

Wanderers FC – Wanderers won’t die wondering

Rangers FC – Rangers ready for Friday night lights

Nine NPL regulars have stayed on with the team this season, including Kyren Walters, Ezra Kennell and Belgian import Jordy Vleugels.

“The reality is I don’t really know anything about the local Mackay league. I did all my research on the NPL, because when I came here that’s the league I was going to be coaching in,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to the players so I’ve got a rough idea of what to expect, but until the first ball is kicked I won’t know for sure.

“But football is football. It’s a rectangle pitch with a goal at either end, no matter the league you’re in.”

Magpies Crusaders begin their campaign at home to City Brothers on Saturday at 5pm.

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Round 1 (July 11)

5pm – Crusaders v City Brothers at Magpies F2

Round 2 (July 18)

BYE Crusaders

Round 3 (July 25-26)

7pm – Lions v Crusaders at Lions F1

Round 4 (August 1)

7pm – Magpies v Crusaders at Magpies F2

Round 5 (August 8)

7pm – Crusaders v Whitsundays at Magpies F2

Round 6 (August 15)

7pm – Wanderers v Crusaders at Wanderers F1

Round 7 (August 22)

7pm – Rangers v Crusaders at Rangers F1

Round 8 (August 29)

7pm – City Brothers v Crusaders at Brothers F1

Round 9 (September 5)

BYE Crusaders

Round 10 (September 12)

5pm – Crusaders v Lions at Magpies F2

Round 11 (September 19)

6pm – Crusaders v Magpies at Magpies F2

Round 12 (September 26)

5pm – Whitsunday v Crusaders at Whitsundays

Round 13 (October 3)

7pm – Crusaders v Wanderers at Magpies F2

Round 14 (October 10)

7pm – City Brothers v Wanderers at Brothers F1

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