Champion striker Royce Brownlie has been around senior football for more than two decades and should know what he is talking about.
So when Brownlie says Logan Lightning have the potential to be a sleeping giant of Queensland football, it is an opinion worth listening to.
As one of the all-time deadly finishers in the game, be it at local, state or national level, Brownlie is now applying his nous and skills as a player-coach of Logan Lightning in the Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL).
Logan is a club many observers feel has been an underachiever. But Brownlie predicts that tag is about to change.
The Lightning are currently fourth on the FQPL ladder and are coming off the back of a 2-1 win over Sunshine Coast Wanderers.
With half a season to go before finals, Logan are poised to finish in the top two – positions which carry automatic promotion to the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland for 2019.
“We have a catch-up game in hand (against Southside Eagles) and if we win that we’ll go to second,” Brownlie said.
Asked if he is aware of the general view that the Lightning have not struck enough in previous years, given the enormous catchment area the club sits in, Brownlie said, “Yes, definitely, but the club has the potential to be a massive player in the state competition.
“It has a huge junior base with more than 1,000 registered, and that is a great base.
“When I arrived here I saw that Nick Croyden (former coach and now technical director), who had them for 10 years, has brought the club to an amazing position where they’re very financial and set up very, very well.
“Now they’re looking for success and NPL is the goal.”
Brownlie inherited a young squad at Cornubia Park but acted quickly to inject some grey matter by luring five experienced old heads. That injection included George Barbarouses.
“Even though he had not played for two years I knew how good he is,” Brownlie said.
“What I did was create a culture there that was a positive environment. The boys have enhanced that.”
Given Brownlie estimates he has scored more than 300 goals in his career, it is natural his philosophy is a simple ‘don’t do as I say, do as I did’ when it comes to finding the net.
“I want to have a side that plays football, no matter what the field, no matter what the circumstances, and get easy goals,” Brownlie said.
“I always think your percentages of scoring tap-ins are a lot higher than scoring bombs. So if we create 20 chances a game there is every opportunity we’re going to get a few of them and win the game.
“It’s a matter of creating chances, converting those chances and success will come.”
Brownlie’s deeds in front of the net make for compelling reading.
He highlighted his four years with Moreton Bay United in NPL Queensland by winning the Golden Boot in 2014 with 34 strikes.
For all intents and purposes, Brownlie closed the curtain on his NPL Queensland career with Moreton Bay at the end of 2016 and signed with Brisbane Premier League club Albany Creek Excelsior.
But officials from Logan came knocking on his door and convinced him he was the man to lead the Lightning into the new FQPL this year.
“I went to Albany Creek thinking I was going to wind down and play more of a casual year and then sort of get my coaching badges together and hopefully take on Albany Creek or Moreton Bay as a coach,” he said.
“But they weren’t quite ready yet so Logan gave me an opportunity and I went there.”
Brownlie was born in Coffs Harbour and played his early football there, then played for Queensland Academy of Sport when he originally moved to Brisbane in 1996.
His first senior club was Brisbane Strikers in 1997. Then it was Brisbane Lions in 2000 after which he signed with Marconi Stallions in the old NSL in 2000.
After that it was further stints in the NSL with Parramatta Power, the Brisbane Strikers and he was then a member of the inaugural Queensland Roar Hyundai A-League squad in 2005.
After having a crack at the English scene with Swindon Town and Chester City, Brownlie headed back Down Under and played the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season with Wellington Phoenix.
Back in Queensland, Brownlie played for Peninsula Power in the Brisbane Premier League, then he was player-coach at North Star, player and assistant coach with Moreton Bay and with Albany Creek where he played five games in 2017.
Even this year, Brownlie has scored five goals coming off the bench for Logan.
But the construction contracts administrator also has other football matters to attend to as a coach.
He is looking after daughter Summer’s Under 13 girls team at Moreton Bay, the club where son Rylan plays in the Under 12s.
Brownlie’s oldest daughter, Jordan, plays netball.
Away from the football fields, Brownlie likes nothing better that to go fishing and loves heading up to Caloundra for a spot of surfing with the family.
Words: Terry Wilson