CQ North open men’s coach Gary Skinner: “We were certainly happy with how we went.”
CQ North open men’s coach Gary Skinner: “We were certainly happy with how we went.”

CQ North coach reviews clash with NPLQ team

The Central Queensland North open men were beaten but showed plenty of promise in their clash with NPL Queensland team, the Magpies Crusaders.

They went down 8-2 in Mackay on Saturday, with Ryan Hawken and Paul Jackson slotting the team’s goals early in the second half.

The CQ North under-23s were beaten 2-1 in their clash.

The exhibition matches were a first for CQ and a first for Rockhampton’s Gary Skinner, who coached against his son Sam for the first time.

Father and son Gary and Sam Skinner were on opposing sides for the first time on Saturday.
Father and son Gary and Sam Skinner were on opposing sides for the first time on Saturday.

Gary was part of the CQ North open men’s coaching staff, while Sam lined up with Magpies Crusaders.

READ:Father and son to face off in ‘CQ first’ exhibition match

Sam played all of the second half, scoring a goal in a solid performance.

“He had a decent run and played fairly well,” Gary said. “I think he was happy with his time on the park.”

Gary said CQ North put in a spirited showing and played to the final whistle.

“You could see right from the outset they (Magpies) were a lot sharper, a lot fitter and their ball speed was way higher,” he said.

“They’ve been training together for a fair while and we’ve had three training sessions so we were certainly happy with how we went.

Ryan Hawken, pictured playing with Frenchville, was one of CQ North’s best in their clash with the Magpies Crusaders.
Ryan Hawken, pictured playing with Frenchville, was one of CQ North’s best in their clash with the Magpies Crusaders.

“The most pleasing thing was our ability to keep the ball from them. We did that at times and that gave us opportunities and that’s how we scored the goals.

“It didn’t matter what the score was, the boys just kept working hard at it.

“We got them uncomfortable a fair bit and I think that’s what they were looking for, they were after a challenge.”

CQ North players who impressed were striker Liam Mclean, midfielders Hawken and Tim Zimitat, and Darcy Grant and Dylan Kussrow in the backline.

Gary said the games were set to become an annual event, which would provide a significant boost for representative pathways in the region.

“These games work in our favour with developing our rep program and with players being identified at the next level,” he said.

“This has given our local players a taste and they’re all keen for a bit more, I think.

“It gives them something to aspire to.”

Following the weekend’s games, a CQ North open men’s team will be selected for the Central Coast Intercity Cup in May.

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