Olympic FC U23 Captain, Declan Baker says his side will be playing for Nathan Weckert in Sunday’s Semi Final against Brisbane Roar at Goodwin Park (3:30pm KO).
Weckert, who is a member of Olympic’s U23 squad was tragically killed in a road incident on his way home from training on Monday, August 30.
The 17-year-old from the Sunshine Coast joined Olympic at the beginning of the 2021 season, making the commute up and down the Bruce Highway four times a week for training and games.
Weckert’s beautiful nature, permanent smile, incredible strength and determination have been greatly missed by all at the football club.
Olympic’s U23’s have harnessed a number of Nathan’s qualities in their performances to finish fourth and book their spot in this season’s finals series.
“It’s had a massive effect on the boys, losing Nathan, he was a great, great kid and we obviously miss him so much, for our team, for coaches, for our manager it’s driven us a lot further and made us work a lot harder,” Baker said.
“Putting on that black tape before every game has made it a lot more special and given us that extra motivation to go out there and show what we’re playing for.
“I haven’t had a season where we’ve played for so much, not just in terms of getting in finals and results but in terms of personal motivation to perform.
“We’ve really come together as a group this season, we’ve become almost a family.
“We’ve all been there for each other through good times and bad and it’s really shown In our football, we’ve got a lot of trust in each other on the park and everybody’s there for each other and the club, there are no individuals out there.”
This is the first time since 2017 that Olympic’s Youth side has secured finals football, they will face Premiers, Brisbane Roar for the right to play the winner of Moreton Bay and Lions in next weekend’s Grand Final at Perry Park.
Olympic and Roar have taken a win apiece from their two previous meetings this season, with a Jayden Dee double securing a 2-0 win for Olympic in their most recent clash while Roar prevailed 3-0 in the reverse fixture.
Dee, who finished equal second on the league’s top scorers charts with 21 goals to his name is one of nine players in this season’s U23 side to have played in the NPL Queensland for the first team.
Jayden Dee, Declan Baker, Prasiddha Paudyal, Roshan Neupane, Taj Hudson, Callan Pashen, David Ishimwe and overage goalkeeper, Brandon Cuminao have all played competitive first team minutes while Will Laskaris and Edward Holmes have also been part of matchday squads this season.
Baker said his side are ready to give it their all in Sunday’s Semi Final at Goodwin Park.
“It’s a massive game for the boys, for everybody. We’ve had a huge season so far and we’re ready to take the next step forward going into finals and hopefully get our spot in the Grand Final,” Baker said.
“We’ve been a dark horse I’d say this season, the team hasn’t ever looked this strong and I think this is probably the best bunch of boys we’ve had in a long time, that chemistry’s really starting to come through for a lot of the boys who have been here for a few seasons now.
“Being Premiers, Roar are definitely not a side to be taken lightly, we put up a good fight last time we played them, coming away with that win, it shows we are a team that can get big results from big games and we have a lot of big players capable of standing up when needed.”
“We’ve got a great support and it means a lot being out there along with the first team on such a big day with the finals double header we hope to see plenty of people down there for what are two huge games,” Baker concluded.
Sunday’s U23 Semi Final at Goodwin Park kicks off at 3:30pm and will be followed by the First Team Semi Final against Young Roar at 6pm.
NPL Queensland U23’s 2021 – Semi Final: Brisbane Roar vs Olympic FC
Goodwin Park, Yeronga
Sunday, 31 October (3:30pm KO)