The Kappa Festival of Football is drawing closer and Football Queensland (FQ) has finalised the shortlisted defenders for the Queensland and NPL All-Stars teams ahead of December’s blockbuster matches against New South Wales and Brisbane Roar.
Read on for more information about the contenders, or visit our explainer article for more details on how FQ is selecting the players and coaches who will represent the state.
And don’t forget to snap up discounted tickets for all seven Kappa Festival of Football clashes before the early bird sale ends on Wednesday, 11 November!
Defenders | Queensland Men’s Squad Contenders
Ryan Cavanah (Eastern Suburbs): Cairns product Cavanah swapped Gold Coast United for Easts in 2020 and has excelled. Had a stint in Spain as a teenager and can play in midfield.
Cameron Crestani (Peninsula Power): Crestani took out the NPL Men’s Goal of the season in 2019 for his thunderbolt strike while at former club Western Pride, but it’s his composure at the back that has shone through for top-of-the-table Peninsula.
Ajdin Fetahagic (Olympic FC): Left-footed, physically imposing and strong in the tackle. Fetahagic has been a constant in the league’s best defence since arriving at Olympic in August.
Tommy Jarrard (Lions FC): Has looked a top-class prospect ever since he broke into Lions’ starting XI under Warren Moon. Named in the 2019 NPL Men’s Team of the Season.
Trent McEvoy (Peninsula Power): The Power skipper and Team of the Week regular leads by example and is a rock in defence for his club.
Michael McGowan (Brisbane Strikers): An experienced, brave centre-back and reliable leader. His two Team of the Week appearances in 2020 represent a good return in tough circumstances. Named in the 2019 NPL Men’s Team of the Season.
Hayden McHenery (Peninsula Power): Right-back who likes to get forward and is fully committed to the cause. Recognised as one of the Players of the Month in September.
Kazuya Ito (Olympic FC): An Olympic stalwart renowned for his technique and ability to play in a variety of positions. Undoubtedly a fans’ favourite at Goodwin Park.
Matthew Schmidt (Gold Coast Knights): A key member of the Knights defence, Schmidt is a specialist attacking left-back who was named in the NPL Men’s Team of the Season in 2019.
Corey Sewell (Olympic FC): Left-sided defender known for his versatility and physical prowess. Sewell’s background in futsal no doubt serves as the foundation for his assurance on the ball.
Matija Simic (Lions FC): The senior figure in defence for Lions, who are always difficult to beat when Simic and Jarrard are partnering each other.
Michael Thwaite (Gold Coast United): Might now be in the veteran stage of his career but the former Socceroos defender remains an important figure on and off the park for United.
Defenders | Queensland Women’s Squad Contenders
Cannon Clough (Lions FC): Clough enjoyed a stellar first NPL Women’s season in 2019, culminating in a Player of the Year nomination. The left-back has helped Lions concede barely a goal a game in 2020.
Zoe Corbett (Gold Coast United): Quick, attack-minded right-back who returned to United in 2020 after moving up from New South Wales for the 2019 season, when she made a big first impression.
Harkana Dixon (Eastern Suburbs): Never lets Easts down. Aside from her clear playing qualities, Dixon’s work-ethic and attitude are much admired at Heath Park.
Eloise Fryer (Gold Coast United): No player has earned more Team of the Week appearances than Fryer’s seven in 2020, testament to her essential role at the heart of United’s dominant defence.
April Gleeson (Logan Lightning): Gleeson has contributed extensively in both defence and midfield for Logan this season, proving her versatility with three goals.
Catherine O’Neill (Lions FC): Starred during Gap’s glory years and has done likewise for Lions, where she linked back up with coach Rob Askew. Named in the 2019 NPL Women’s Team of the Season.
Demi Robins (Logan Lightning): Can play in both defence and midfield. Two Team of the Week appearances this season for Finals Series aspirants Logan.
Lauren Spreadborough (Logan Lightning): Like team-mate Robins, Spreadborough has appeared in the Team of the Week on two occasions this term. The ex-Moreton Bay United defender has also chipped in with four very useful goals.
Teagan Thompson (Capalaba FC): Three goals and three Team of the Week appearances in 2020 for the tireless Thompson, one of third-placed Capalaba’s top performers.
Arina Tokunaga (Eastern Suburbs): Talented and determined young defender who has represented Australia at multiple youth levels.
Danielle Ward (Gap FC): Another exciting young prospect, Ward has spent time with Brisbane Roar and been involved with New Zealand’s youth setup.
Natasha Wheeler (Capalaba FC): The former Roar and Young Matildas squad member continues to showcase her class in the NPL Women’s competition, having scored no fewer than five goals despite being a defender.
Words: Adam Cattell & Matt Dorman