NPL Team of the Season nominee and Magpies Crusaders' inaugural captain Michael Lyall will be back with the club in 2019.
NPL Team of the Season nominee and Magpies Crusaders' inaugural captain Michael Lyall will be back with the club in 2019. Daniel McKenzie

Magpies' re-sign '18 captain

Football: Magpies Crusaders United have pulled off a major coup re-signing inaugural captain Michael Lyall to a new contract.

Dominating in the 2018 National Premier League Queensland season, Lyall had a year to remember, bagging 19 goals on his way to being named in the league's Team of the Season.

While capturing the attention of clubs in Brisbane, Lyall said he never truly considered leaving MCU and was thrilled to be linking up with the club again.

"I got some interest and it's always nice to get the phone call which proves you're doing good, but I just used it as motivation with what I was doing,” he said.

"With age and my family, Mackay is the place I'd end up playing. It's a new club, it's got great facilities, and with the crowds, it's an exciting club to play for.”

The face of the club, the fan-favourite was named NPL Golden Boot, NPL Players' Player and NPL Player of the Year at MCU's awards night in September.

A crucial signing, Lyall will be front and centre with leading the club into its second season and a new era under new coach Chris Gallo, after the departure of Carlos Garcia.

Looking forward to linking up with Gallo, Lyall said he wasn't sure whether he'd be reappointed captain, but the appointment of the former Devonport City mentor was a key in putting pen to paper.

"I met him when he came to the club before he took the position, and he's a big reason I wanted to re-sign... with the NPL standard and what he'll bring, it's exciting,” he said.

"I'll be there to help Chris and I'll be playing the same way and leading regardless (of captaincy)... he'll be trying to impress and I'll have to impress again which is also exciting.”

Lyall's signing becomes even more crucial after the departures of 2018 stars in vice-captain Kyle Markham and midfielder Lewis Farquhar who are targeting contracts in Thailand and Adelaide respectively.

While the likes of Mackay foundation players Ryan Ramsden, Mitchell Wright, Liam Shipton and Kyle McBurney are also expected to return, Lyall was confident the club could attract quality players, particularly with Cairns FC and Townsville's North Queensland United no longer in the NPL competition.

"It's good to sign on so people know what's happening with me, and hopefully the club can use that for (signing) other players,” Lyall said.

"We've attracted A-League teams for friendlies, and now we're the only NPL side in North Queensland, those Cairns and Townsville boys could look to come down and play with us as it's a great club to play for.

"With the attraction of the facilities, culture and the home support - the crowds we get (800 plus) are 10 times more than any other games we play (elsewhere) - so we should attract the right players who'll come for the right reasons.”

Ticking off NPL survival in their inaugural season, Lyall said with the addition of Gallo and former Western Pride assistant-coach Dan Burnell - who took up the post of operations manager mid-year - the club had a bright future.

"Carlos had great respect and a great resume, but Chris has lots of NPL experience, and with Dan's experience, hopefully they'll lead the club in the right (direction), and that'll see success,” he said.

"We would have liked to finish higher (in 2018), but we'll look to improve and who knows, in a couple of years we might be competing at the top.”

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