Round 7 Il Centro Man of the Match – Nathan Bird

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Brisbane City’s longest serving player Nathan Bird was named Il Centro Man of the Match by John Kosmina after the 2-1 win over Redlands United on Saturday night. (Read the match report here)

After running out 2-1 winners, Birdy was satisfied in general with the performance and despite the late scare felt that his team were comfortably in control throughout.

“Ye we controlled most of the game.” Bird attested. “I think we were sloppy in patches which didn’t help but I think we controlled the game quite well, I didn’t feel too threatened.”

“They let us play a fair bit I think. Even at 2-0 down they were still letting us play and we were playing out through them so I think they might have been a bit worried to be honest.” Bird added.

Mareeba-born Bird set up City’s opening goal with a wonderfully lofted pass onto the head of Seiji Shizuno, who directed the ball past Ralph on the stroke of half time with City’s centre back attributing the pass to an earlier communication between the pair.

Nathan Bird in action against the Thunder. Photo by David Lobwein – DSL Photography

“I normally look for feet,” Bird said, “but Seiji during the game said ‘look, I’m running off them a couple of times, have a look,’ and the time I looked up Seiji was making his run and I played him in.”

Bird has scored 6 of his 16 NPL Queensland goals against Redlands United, a fact he admitted to being vaguely aware of but happy enough not to add to this evening in lieu of providing an assist.

“I didn’t even know that to be honest!” Bird laughed before adding, “I knew Redlands was one of the teams I have scored more goals against, but tonight it’s assists for me instead of goals.

“I’m playing from the back so – I would have liked to get another goal but it’s a bit harder to score from centre back so assists will do!”

The 97 game NPL veteran alluded there to his new playing position – a shift from the midfield into the heart of City’s defence – a change instigated prior to the away trip to Cairns that has coincided with City embarking on a three game unbeaten run.

Nathan Bird in action against home town team, Cairns FC earlier this season. Photo by Peter Roy Photography.

Co-incidence? Perhaps, but it is clear that Bird has taken to his new role like a duck to water.

“I think centre back, I’ve slotted in quite well.” Bird confirmed. “It’s just another job for me really.”

Bird’s new-found defensive skills were set to be tested early when Tristan Hugo was forced off through injury after just 15 minutes, but Bird was happy with how the team adjusted and refused to be drawn on whether it had a negative impact on the team.

“I don’t think it was too hard to be honest, because one change was just (Greg) Kingy moving back to centre back – which he is very good at and that sort of sorted itself out, and (Nathan) Beag’s is a left back.” Bird responded in relation to the first change.

“The other was André dropping deeper, but he dropped in quite well as well, we just talked him through it but I don’t think there was too much that we needed to change or get frightened about.”

Bird’s confidence in the defence speaks volumes, highlighting how important the trip was in terms of resetting and building a strong platform from which the team could re-launch their season.

“I think that Cairns game was a bit of a turning point.” Bird agreed. “We have jelled together now, we’re playing as a team, we’re playing for each other, yelling at each other on the pitch – I think that’s helping a lot.” Bird reeled off.

“The Cairns game has helped, but I think we’ve got a bit of momentum at the moment so I hope we can keep going.”

City will look to continue their run against Sunshine Coast at home next Saturday night. kick off at 6:30pm.

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