Ostwald reaches 100 Cup games

Ostwald made his Cup debut with the Tigers in 2016. PHOTO: QRL

Northern Pride captain Chris Ostwald ran out onto the field in Sunday afternoon’s clash with the Central Queensland Capras knowing he belongs there.

The match at Barlow Park was a significant one for the 28-year-old – it marked his 100th appearance in the Hostplus Cup.

It was a tale of two halves in the Round 14 feature game, as the Northern Pride and Central Queensland Capras battled it out to a 12-all draw.

And over those 100 Cup games, the player, who originally hails from the North Burnett’s Gayndah, has learnt that he deserves his place as one of the stalwarts of the competition.

“I like to think I belong now,” he said of his biggest lesson from his time in Hostplus Cup.

“At the start, you don’t think you deserve your spot in the team. Moving forward, you realise how much the younger boys look up to you and take in your information and take on board what you tell them.

“It’s about understanding you’re a role model now.

“It started for me in the back end of my time at the (Brisbane) Tigers, when I was playing better footy and getting more time on the field.

“Then with the move up to the Northern Pride, I felt right at home at that point in my career and trusted my own ability. The more I did that, the more I saw my ability rise on the field as well.”

Ostwald made his Cup debut with the Tigers back in 2016.

He was with the club for four seasons before joining the Pride in 2020, when the competition was cancelled due to COVID-19.

For the Gayndah product, his time at both the Tigers and Pride has given him plenty of memorable moments – highlights and lowlights – but there’s three in particular that stick out.

“My debut was a little bit different,” Ostwald said.

“We were down at Piggabeen versing Tweed. I think we actually lost that game but it was a proud moment.

“Growing up in a small country town and to make it to such a high level and make it to the Tigers, I wanted to represent the Wide Bay region and Gayndah and my family.

“You’re nervous because you want to make sure it’s going to be remembered and you don’t want to let the team down.

“Then my two highlights… one would be the grand final that I got to play in with the Tigers (in 2018). That would definitely be up there with one of the best moments in my career.

“Even though we lost to Redcliffe, it was still a great moment to be part of.

“The second is being named captain of the Northern Pride. It was a big milestone moment for myself. It was something I didn’t think I would deserve but I’m just glad (coach Ty Williams) had the trust in me.

“Being from a small country town I wanted to replicate that feeling when I moved to the Pride. I’d spent a few years in Brisbane and I loved the Tigers – they’re a big family club and did a lot for me.

“But I got in contact with Ty and he stated the Pride is another big family club and it’s a one-team town and I moved up not knowing how it would all go.

“I was fresh out of uni as a teacher and got a job at Bentley Park College and it’s really paid off.”

For Ostwald – who lists his dad Shane and previous coaches Darren Geiger (Kingaroy) and Scott Sipple (Brisbane Tigers) among his biggest influences – coming to the Pride has also done a lot for his confidence and in developing that belief that he “belongs” in Hostplus Cup.

Outside his dad and previous coaches, Pride mentor Williams has had a huge impact on Ostwald’s career and helped him to grow within the game and as a leader.

“Ty has put the belief and trust of the team in me to really unlock my potential I suppose,” Ostwald said.

“It means a lot. It means a lot to both myself and the team that Ty trusts us enough to help coach the team.

“Being on the ground with the boys, I get it from both sides. I can understand the point-of-view of the staff and of the playing group too.

“At the Pride, it doesn’t matter if you’re a coach, player or one of the development boys, the door is always open, ideas are always listened to, concerns are always brought up. It’s one big family.”

Ostwald was due to play his 100th Cup game in Round 9 but a grade two MCL tear has kept him sidelined and sitting on 99 appearances for the past month.

However, the wait will be worth it for Ostwald, who is not only proud of his achievement, but excited of what his future still holds.

“I’m pretty proud to join that club of 100 games,” Ostwald said.

“It is something to be proud of. There’s not many people that actually get to play 100 games. I’m honoured to have the chance and opportunities given to me by Easts and Northern Pride.

“I’m extremely happy with what I’ve done in my career. I’d love to get to 150 games and play a few more years.

“But my biggest goal is playing good footy regularly and helping those younger boys, like the older boys at the Tigers did for me.

“I want to help them reach their goals and I want to continue my own journey as well.”