WAPLES BRINGS A TON OF CLASS TO FUR Y FIGHT

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER

NORTH­ERN Fury cap­tain Corey Waples says his pas­sion for the game still burns bright as he pre­pares to bring up an im­pres­sive mile­stone this week­end.

Waples will be­come the first Fury player to reach 100 games when he takes the field against the Roar Youth team in Bris­bane tonight.

The 23- year- old has played ev­ery sea­son for the Fury in the NPL Queens­land con­fer­ence, but Waples said he could still hardly be­lieve that he’s al­ready cracked the cen­tury mark.

“It feels pretty good, but it’s crept up on me. It doesn’t feel like I’ve played 100 games,” he said.

“There’s not too many in the league who have done it, so I feel pretty lucky to not have many in­juries in my time.

“A lot of play­ers have come and gone or found an op­por­tu­nity else­where, but I’ve been lucky to stay around and main­tain a good stan­dard to keep my­self in the team.”

It’s been a tough slog at times for the Fury, in­clud­ing last sea­son when they fin­ished dead last with just two draws to show for their ef­forts.

Waples took the reins as cap­tain dur­ing that test­ing cam­paign and the hard­work­ing mid­fielder said he was al­ways proud to rep­re­sent the club.

“The pas­sion for the game has kept me around and kept me go­ing,” he said.

“The club has al­ways been re­ally good to me and I’m a big be­liever in stay­ing with peo­ple loyal to you.

“It’s all been a good jour­ney and a good ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m just a lo­cal boy, but I’ve started trav­el­ling away with the Fury and met some good peo­ple.

“I’ve played with some guys who’ve gone on to do re­ally good things.”

While his 100th game will be a nice mo­ment, Waples said the Fury would have a point to prove on the field against the Roar, who con­tro­ver­sially for­feited the last en­counter be­tween the two sides.

The Roar were strug­gling with player avail­abil­ity and travel ar­range­ments and couldn’t make the trip north, but Foot­ball Queens­land still awarded both teams a point each, much to the Fury’s frus­tra­tion.

Fury coach Paul Ron­cato has de­scribed tonight’s clash as one he be­lieves his team should win and Waples said they were de­ter­mined.

“We’re get­ting a cou­ple of peo­ple back. Jono Ba­gley will be back in the team and we’re start­ing to re­build back to full strength,” Waples said.

“It’s a bit of grudge match for us af­ter the Roar for­feited the last match and still got a point out of it.

“It was a bit of a ques­tion­able de­ci­sion from Foot­ball Queens­land, so we’ve got a lot to prove against this team.”

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

MILE­STONE: North­ern Fury cap­tain Corey Waples ahead of his 100th game for the club this week­end.

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