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.
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.
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.
Round 1 (July 11)
5pm – Crusaders v City Brothers at Magpies F2
Round 2 (July 18)
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)
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