Western Pride are delighted to announce Mitchell Bird will again don the green & white for the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues 2017 season.
Bird had a superb 2016 with 7 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions while acting as supplier-in chief for Pride’s top-scorer Joe Duckworth.
The speedy winger’s form and attitude was recognised at Pride’s end of season awards where he was presented with the Best and Fairest trophy.
Bird attributed his form to depth and form of the Pride squad.
“This season there was defiantly more competition between the group to start games, so playing well and training well was a must,” Bird said.
“Also towards the end of the season we had a good run, which I think came down to the team bonding.”
Bird said Pride’s strong team culture was strengthened by the fact many of the players grew up or had played football within Ipswich.
“I think it helps because a lot of the boys know each other through school or other teams around Ipswich, so people are not complete strangers,” Bird said.
Bird played his youth football at Pride catchment club Lions FC before making his senior debut at Ipswich Knights, where he lined-up alongside current Pride teammate Nielen Brown.
Other Ipswich-based footballers on Pride’s 2016 roster included Alistair Wallis (ex-Ipswich Knights), Corey Lucas (Western Spirit) Daniel Kleinhans (Raceview FC), Jordan Lambi (Colleges United) and Ipswich Grammar School pair Joe Duckworth and Anthony Poljak.
For Bird, having a core of Ipswich players meant there was an extra dimension when Pride played sides from Brisbane.
“There is a sense of it being Pride vs Brisbane, and because there is such a good local community in behind us makes these games somewhat special,” Bird said.
“There’s a good group of Ipswich supporters who back us no matter what, which motivates us to do well against Brisbane teams.”
Pride finished the season with a run of victories, finishing with a win against Brisbane’s Olympic FC in which Bird set up a stunning strike from Jacob Minett.
Bird said he hoped Pride could continue this late season winning run into the new season.
“Next year I would like us to finish in the top half, even pushing for top four, which I think is very achievable,” Bird said.