RICHLANDS | 19.3.22 | Mark Majdandzic
The dawn of a new era is upon the Gold Coast Knights with the 2022 NPL QLD set to begin tonight against Lions FC. The two teams have a great history of quality fixtures since playing against one another in the NPL and the Opening Day Round 4 clash will write another chapter into the books. Kick off is set for 7:00pm at Lions Stadium.
Here are three things to know before this evening’s contest:
LAST TIME OUT
The Knights and Lions last met in a Round 14 clash in late June at the Croatian Sports Centre last year, kick starting the visitors eventual Grand Final winners run into the top four and towards the Championship. A tightly fought contest saw Lions take a 1-0 victory away from the Croatian Sports Centre. In the corresponding fixture the two sides opened the 2021 season at Lions Stadium with Lions yet again winning 3-2 at the death. That day saw Marek Madle shown two yellow cards before a 94th minute winner by Tommy Jarrard took the spoils on the night.
The Knights have not been able to take three points away from Lions Stadium in the three meetings there, falling narrowly in 2019 2-1 and taking a 0-0 draw out of the clash in 2020. All six games between the two teams have had only one goal in it regardless of the result and Saturday night could prove to be much of the same between the two clubs.
NEW SIGNINGS, NEW EXPECTATIONS
The Knights enter the year full of expectation after an impressive transfer window saw a number of players both depart and sign for the red, white and blue. Under the leadership of Head Coach Scott Mcdonald the transformation especially in the front third of the pitch has been evident, with signings Kristian Brymora (Edgeworth Eagles), Mirza Muratovic (Wellington Phoenix) and Pasquale De Vita (SWQ Thunder) joining the likes of Cai Tipaldo as the men responsible for getting on the score sheet.
Key defensive pieces were also secured in the transfer window with Brazilian Janiel Da Silva (Altona Magic) and Tyson Martin (Brisbane City) making their way to the Croatian Sports Centre to solidify the defensive side of the pitch.
Andy Pengelly has been a staple name in the NPL QLD for a number of years now and rarely misses the goal sheet in his time at Brisbane Strikers and Peninsula Power. The reigning league top scorer and MVP had a stellar campaign for Peninsula Power last season before making the move over to Richlands, scoring 33 goals across all competitions. The summer transfer window has catapulted Lions into the conversation as contenders for the title and Pengelly will play a major part in their pursuit for silverware. It will be crucial for the Knights defensive third to limit the chances and opportunities that Pengelly gets in front of goal if they are to come away with the spoils from Lions Stadium this evening.
The losses of clubman Luke Borean (Strikers), Jordan Farina (Strikers) and Max Mikkola (South Melbourne) have been met with more than capable replacements with Matt Ridenton (Wellington Phoenix), Aidan Munford (Roar), Hassan Ramazani (Roar) and Jackson Hart-Phillips (Roar) all signing for the Grand Final winners in the off-season.
Date: Saturday 19th March
Kick Off Time: 7pm
Location: Richlands Stadium