The bond that unites four Magpies Crusaders
TEAMMATES start to feel a lot like family when you train three times a week, travel across Queensland together and then come home to the same group of players each night.
At least that's how Magpies Crusaders midfielder Matt Haspels sees living with four of his teammates.
In his Glenella abode Haspels lives with Mitch Herrmann, Kyren Walters, Raffi Krissian and Joshua Brookes.
With each player leaving behind their home to pursue their football dreams, Haspels said his house-mates acted like a second family to one another.
"A lot of us don't see our families for weeks on end . . . there's a learning curve and you really need to be there for your mates," he said.
While a household with four others can seem like a lawless land after a while, Haspels said each player brought an interesting element to the household.
"We try to be clean, but with boys being boys it takes about a day for the house to be a pig sty," he joked.
Just the other day, Haspels said, the newest addition to the group home, Brookes, had revealed his talent as a hairdresser when he whipped out his scissors to freshen up the midfielder.
"He reckons they don't know how to do haircuts here so he said he'd do it for me," Haspels said.
"He actually did alright, to be fair."
When asked who was the best cook of the household, Haspels laughed and said not to print his response to prevent his pick from getting a "big head" about it.
The 21-year-old said it was the little interactions that transferred from their house life to the field.
"If you can trust someone to do your hair you're going to trust them passing you the ball on a Saturday," he said.
"It builds chemistry and you see that bond on and off the field. It's pretty much half the team, four of the 11 in the house. So when you think about it that (chemistry) makes up a great deal of what we do on a Saturday."
The players balance jobs on the side, which Haspels admits can be a much needed break after being around the same faces for weeks on end.
"I think it's healthy to have a break from living with four boys, but I still enjoy every minute of it," he said.
Given the highs and lows of this year's NPL season, Haspels said it was good to have people to empathise with when they hit a low.
"Especially this season; it's not always fun and games. There have been some tough times . . . but we always back each other."
"We have no choice. You can fall apart and crumble, or stick together and be stronger.
"We've all done that. Me, Mitch and Kyren have been there from the start and gone through our fair share of hardships, but I think we've come out stronger."