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Mackay ready to Roar!

By Tammy Laval

FOOTBALL: Magpies Crusaders will be up for their biggest challenge when they clash with the Brisbane Roar on July 12 at BB Print stadium.

Magpies Crusaders United Captain Michael Lyall, Mayor Greg Williamson & Brisbane Roar forward Brett Holman announce the Hyundai A-League team’s visit to Mackay in July.

Maggies are well versed in battling strong teams in the NPL, but no team will test their abilities like the full force of the A-League Brisbane Roar.

Former Socceroo Brett Holman was in Mackay yesterday to announce that the Roar will be here from July 9 as part of their pre-season training.

There will also be open training sessions at BB Print Stadium Mackay and a Brisbane Roar Sports Dinner at Magpies Sporting Club Mackay on Friday, July 13.

Marquee Brisbane Roar player Brett Holman, a former Socceroo, and Brisbane Roar managing director David Pourre were in Mackay today for the announcement.

“We’re excited to be here,” Holman said. “We have a training camp coming up in Mackay, so it will be exciting for Brisbane Roar to come up here for a week, train really hard and play a friendly game or so against the Magpies.” “On behalf of the club and my teammates, I’d like to say how excited we are to play a pre-season match in Mackay,” Holman said.

Holman said it could be a key opportunity for Mackay players to be noticed by the A-League players. “I hope this match will help grow our game in regional Queensland and excite the local football community.”

Despite the non-competitive nature of the game, Holman said the Roar wouldn’t be pulling any punches and would be performing with their full team.

“Preparations are underway for us, so we’re full on going for it with pre-season. We’re three weeks in already, we are defiantly coming up here with the full squad.”

The Roar striker said he is looking forward to seeing what the Mackay teams and facilities have to offer and that the team is eager to get out of Brisbane.

“It’s a great opportunity to expand for Brisbane Roar and also see how things are going for the grassroots.”

Even if the Crusader players gain nothing from the visit, Holman said it would be a great chance to see A-League players in the flesh, how they train and the components of playing professional football.

“I think it would be good for young players to actually see what we do day in, day out,” he said.

Holman has also bandied about the possibility of some A-League games here in Mackay.

“It’s always an option, it’s happened before in other states (games being played at regional locations), so it could defiantly be an option,” he said.

Magpies Crusaders United captain Michael Lyall said the experience would be a good learning curve for the team and should impart some important skills to the players.

“I’m sure the boys will love it and enjoy it, chasing the ball around for 90 minutes will be good for them all.”

“It’s massive for us to verse a team like the Brisbane Roar and I think we’ll all just enjoy that for now.”

Mayor Greg Williamson was thrilled by the announcement and said it was a great step for Mackay football.

“With the World Cup currently being played in Russia, there is enormous interest in the game,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“This visit will come on the back of that momentum and it is also great timing as it will be school holidays,’’ he said.

The encounter would cement Magpies Crusaders in the second part of the NPL season, Cr Williamson said. Citing the NPL was about providing pathways for young players and it was tremendous that youngsters in the Magpies Crusaders United team would get the chance to play against Hyundai A-League opposition.

Under 12s and Under 16s competing in the inaugural Football Queensland Community Cup can also expect a visit from the Roar players, while punters can catch the open training sessions at BB Print Stadium Mackay, the 7pm clash on July 12 and a Brisbane Roar Sports Dinner at Magpies Sporting Club on Friday, July 13.

Tickets for the game are on sale now at: https://footballqld.oztix.com.au/?Event=89476

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