Club Preview - North Queensland Fury
We take a look at new franchise North Queensland Fury is the next of our Club Previews
It-s fair to say that of the two new Hyundai A-League franchises North Queensland Fury has certainly kept a lower profile than there Gold Coast United counterparts. However that is probably symptomatic of the places they are located and the way things are achieved and promoted in that region.
But while Fury has a low profile they have probably pulled off the coup of the season, courtesy of securing the services of former Liverpool star Robbie Fowler. The departure of Jade North as Fury-s marquee player before a ball had been kicked in anger saw several names linked including Scott Chipperfield and Fowler. Having already rejected Sydney FC two seasons earlier, the Fowler interest was not taken seriously until the man himself came out for a fact finding mission that showed how genuinely keen he was on a prospective move. When he did agree a 2-year deal, Fury has signed possibly the most high profile player in the Hyundai A-League-s history. He signing was a coup for the fledgling club, but his pre-season has been blighted by niggling injuries and rumours of a return home to England. However cameo appearances against Wolverhampton and then Perth Glory, plus a start against Brisbane Roar in their final trial, has everyone in North Queensland looking forward to the season ahead with their star recruit leading the way.
Inaugural coach Ian Ferguson, formerly assistant coach at Central Coast Mariners, hasn-t had the easiest of pre-seasons with his recruitment with several players signing before departing including the highly talented Felipe, who shone with Wellington Phoenix in their first season. Apart from Fowler and perhaps the likes of Robbie Middleby and Ufuk Talay, Ferguson has a squad that has a lot of potential, but is still very much trying to prove themselves at this level.
Fred Agius 3-4 years ago was seen as the next big thing before disappearing into the wilderness, but is being given a second chance to play at the elite level and should be one to watch, as should New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie, who has surprisingly been overlooked by Wellington Phoenix. The late signing of David Williams has added even more excitement and his partnership with Fowler up front will be one to watch. Much was expected of Williams after bursting on the scenes late in season one, but his move to Brondby in Denmark proved disappointing and he is keen to resurrect his career back in Australia. Striker Daniel McBreen is another to return home from overseas and no doubt Ferguson will be looking for him to get among the goals.
Scottish defender Scott Wilson was to be the brick in defence, but an ankle injury has delayed the start of his season for a few weeks, so the likes of former New Zealand Knights defender John Tambouras and former Sydney FC players Jacob Timpano, Beau Busch and Robbie Middleby will be needed to shore up the defence. Timpano in particular, is hoping that the move north will end his problems with injury that plagued his Sydney FC career. Paul Kohler is another who has experience and is looking for another chance at this level.
Talay is the experienced player in the midfield, but his pre-season has been hindered by injury as well, but there is potential with the likes of Jason Spagnuolo, Agius, Jason Robinson and Chris Tadrosse.
Ferguson has said that at least two more players will be added to the squad in the coming weeks and is confident these players will bring a lot of experience to the squad.
The one big advantage that Fury will have, especially mid-summer, will be the heat and humidity in Townsville. If they can take advantage they will win a few home games, but on the road they are likely to need to rely a lot on Fowler-s goals to get the better of opposition. If he can stay injury free a 10 goal plus season is well within his reach, but will it be enough to get Fury a finals berth - only time will tell.
Current Squad: Fred AGIUS, Jeremy BROCKIE, Beau BUSCH, Karl DODD, Robbie FOWLER, Rostyn GRIFFITHS, Chris GROSSMAN, Jack HINGERT, Paul KOHLER, Osama MALIK, Daniel McBREEN, Robert MIDDLEBY, Justin PASFIELD (gk), James ROBINSON, Jason SPAGNUOLO, Chris TADROSSE, Ufuk TALAY, John TAMBOURAS, Jacob TIMPANO, David WILLIAMS and Scott WILSON.
In: Fred Agius (Adelaide City - 1 year), Beau Busch (Sydney FC - 1 year), Jeremy Brockie (Team Wellington, New Zealand - 1 year), Karl Dodd (Wellington Phoenix - 1 year), Robbie Fowler (Blackburn Rovers, England - 2 years), Rostyn Griffiths (Adelaide United - 1 year , Chris Grossman (Brisbane Roar - 1 year), Jack Hingert (VPL - 1 year), Paul Kohler (Newcastle Jets - 1 year), Osama Malik (Adelaide United NYL - 1 year), Daniel McBreen (York City, England - 1 year), Robbie Middleby (Sydney FC - 2 years), Justin Pasfield (Wollongong Wolves - 2 years),James Robinson (Perth Glory - 2 years), Jason Spagnuolo (Adelaide United - 2 years), Chris Tadrosse (Central Coast Mariners - 2 years), Ufuk Talay (Avispa Fukuoka, Japan - 2 years), Jacob Timpano (Sydney FC - 2 years), David Williams (Brøndby - 1 year loan), Scott Wilson (Dunfermline Athletic - 2 years)
Out: Felipe (mutual termination), Brendon Santalab (Sydney FC - 2 years), Marton Vass (APIA Leichhardt - 1 year)