Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

JAPANESE TRIP LIFTS PRIDE TO NEXT LEVEL; State Champions Receive Football Boost for 2018 Season

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

JAPANESE TRIP LIFTS PRIDE TO NEXT LEVEL; State Champions Receive Football Boost for 2018 Season

Article excerpt

DAVID

LEMS

david.lems@qt.com.au

ASKED to name a highlight from Western Pride's recent trip to Japan, head coach Graham Harvey had to think for a few seconds.

During a productive week where Queensland's grand final champions learnt so much, Harvey summed it up perfectly.

"The highlight for me was how the boys got better as the week went on and adapted to the intensity,'' he said.

"There was a definite gap in quality so it was good to see how the boys adjusted and focused to that.''

After beating Moreton Bay United 2-1 in the thrilling National Premier Leagues Queensland grand final, the Pride players gained more valuable experience for future quests by playing three Japanese sides and watching J-League teams play and train.

"There is a big difference between what they're doing and what happens here in Australia,'' Harvey said, confident his players benefited from the Japanese style of football.

"Both on and off the field, the boys had a really good experience and learnt an awful lot.

"On the field, the boys learnt the different standards and different levels.

"They've also got some things individually that they can now go away and focus on to try and improve their own game.''

After losing their first game 5-1 against Tokyo 23, Pride fought hard to go down 3-0 against Ryutsu Keizai University then 2-0 in their final match against Tochigi.

Pride's final game was against full-time professional footballers.

"They (the Japanese sides) work very hard both sides of the ball,'' Harvey said.

"As a result of that hard work, technically they are very good as well.

"The reason behind the trip was to open up their eyes to different levels in Asia. That really put them in that test straight away so really happy with the whole trip.''

Harvey conceded it was a big ask for his players to back up in Japan after the high emotion of winning the NPL grand final. …

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