Spirit soars on signings
LAST year the Bundaberg Toyota Spirit was never in the hunt because the best players in town were not on the pitch for the State League side.
No longer will this be the case, with Bingera boys Laurie Stephenson, Brett Kitching, Lucas Read and Aaron Bakker among those on the cusp of signing with the club for 2010.
Stephenson and Kitching, who was captain of the Bundaberg side two seasons ago, have all but put pen to paper with the Spirit, having trained with the squad since late last year.
It is a welcome change for the club after key players had been reluctant to step up for the Spirit in the past.
But Kitching said times had changed — most notably the forming of a new committee.
“That was the clincher. If it was the same as it was last year, I don’t think I’d be back, like a lot of the blokes.
“I was sick of promises not being delivered.”
Last year the Spirit side drove 14 hours to play Far North Queensland in Cairns in a mini-bus — hardly the ideal preparation.
They lost that game and, apart from one draw, lost every other for a 2009 record that did not make for happy reading.
But the previous year, with Stephenson and Co in the mix, the Spirit fared much better.
Despite still collecting the wooden spoon, they had a few wins and some degree of pride.
“That’s the thing – if everyone is available, we can beat these regional teams and give the city teams a scare,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson only played three games with the Spirit last season, one being their drawn game with QAS.
He won a premiership with Bingera but now wants to restore some credibility in the town’s top side.
The Brisbane Strikers have confirmed they will defend their league title but may find a much sterner opposition when they next travel to Martens Oval.
“We can’t make excuses about being a club for player development. We need to start winning games and aim to make the finals,” Kitching said.