After capping a remarkable season by claiming the inaugural Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) premiership at a canter, Peninsula Power can now start thinking about life in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland.
The Power have been beyond a revelation in the first edition of the FQPL.
After 21 rounds they remain undefeated, recording 19 wins and just the one draw, enough to secure the premiership with five rounds to spare.
Along with the honour of going down in history as the FQPL’s inaugural Premiers, Peninsula Power also receive promotion to the NPL.
So far in 2017, Power have scored a staggering 91 goals and conceded only 17, with their biggest win of the season a 12-0 dismantling of Wide Bay Buccaneers.
Some high flying teams rely on one talismanic player to consistently deliver for them.
Not Power. 17 of their 25 man squad have managed to find the back of the net with three players: Dean Briggs (17), Oliver Smith (14) and Thomas Strickland (11) all into double digits for goals this campaign.
However, if there is one individual who can be sought out for special praise it is head coach Aaron Philp, the man who has masterminded their ascension into the top tier of football in Queensland.
Philp, a former Peninsula player, took over the head coach role in mid-2016 from Terry Kirkham.
Last season, he guided the Power to second place in last season’s Brisbane Premier League, which included a run to the FFA Cup Round of 32.
Now the master tactician must negotiate the daunting task of surviving life in the NPL Queensland, a task Philp says his team are more than up for.
“You’ve got to aim to be one of the top clubs (in the NPL),” he said.
“Peninsula Power has always been a club that wants to achieve to their potential, so we’ll try to mix it with the bigger clubs that are in there and hopefully have some success.”
The pressure that awaits in the cutthroat world of the NPL is nothing new for Philp, as his Power side carried huge expectations heading into the inaugural FQPL season.
“At the start of the season, everyone was telling us we were favorites, so instead of denying it we, we embraced it and said we have to perform every week because we are probably one of the teams to beat in the league,” he said.
Philp has immense faith in his current crop of players and won’t be looking to make any drastic personnel changes in the off-season.
“Playing the (FFA) Cup this year we faced a few NPL teams and did really well, obviously we got beaten by Lions convincingly, but I think our squad is good enough to compete,” Philp said.
“I think every team looks to strengthen, you’ve got to look to evolve, so we’ll probably get a few new faces in amongst our team, but there won’t be wholesale changes put it that way.”
The Power’s record run in the FQPL has somewhat cast the spotlight on Philp and while he does harbour some ambitions to manage at a higher level one day, the coach is just enjoying the unbelievable ride his team are on at the moment.
“You’d never say never and if the opportunity ever came (to coach at a higher level), I’d love to go further,” he said.
“The opportunity may come one day, but I’m just coaching in the moment at the moment, I’m only young still, so I’ve got plenty of time, but who knows”.
Words: Samuel Johnson
Image: Peninsula Power