Brisbane Roar and Socceroos dynamo Ivan Franjic is excited by the prospect of Brisbane Roar competing in the upcoming National Premier Leagues Queensland season following an announcement the club will field youth and women’s teams in the state-wide competition this year.
Football Queensland yesterday confirmed Roar’s participation in the second tier competition, which comprises a Queensland-wide league format prior to a national knockout finals series against the top clubs from interstate.
Franjic was famously scouted from the Victorian Premier League by then Roar manager Frank Farina in 2009 and his rise to A-League All-Star and Socceroos representative remains one of the fairytale stories of the A-League’s relatively brief history.
However, Franjic said there were many more diamonds to be unearthed in the second tier, and that Roar’s participation would be a boon for the club’s youth development and recruitment.
“It’s very good for the young boys and obviously the girls are going to be in there, so we can scout talent from there and it gives our youth players a good chance,” Franjic said.
“(The youth team) are playing senior football so the coach can go out there and watch, it’s a great opportunity for them to impress and get a full-time contract.”
Before his break with Roar, Franjic played semi-professionally for St Albans Saints, Melbourne Knights and Oakleigh Cannons in the Victorian league system.
He said there is talent aplenty outside the A-League and that the extra attention Roar’s involvement brings would help shine a light on players on the fringes.
“There’s a lot of talent in the state league that gets untapped at times,” Franjic explained.
“It’s sad at times because I’ve played with a lot of good players that haven’t made it, but if we keep scouting players from local leagues I’m sure they can come up to the A-League and do a good job.”
While the final details of Roar’s involvement in the NPL is yet to be confirmed by Football Queensland, Roar will participate in this year’s soon-to-be-launched FFA Cup along with the remaining nine A-league clubs.
Franjic said a home-coming against one of his former clubs would be something he would relish.
“I’d like to be drawn against Melbourne Knights, Oakleigh or St Albans,” he said excitedly.
“It’s a great idea what they are doing with this cup and it’s really going back to grassroots with football, which is important because it makes the game grow.”
Local league clubs are slated to compete in the early, regional stages of the knock-out competition, prior to the entry of NPL clubs and A-League clubs in the later rounds.
Franjic said possibly travelling and playing in cities and towns outside of the A-League added allure to the cup competition.
“At the end of the day, it’s a new challenge and it will be exciting times wherever you go getting to see Australia,” Franjic concluded.