IT seems a world away when A-League footballer Kasey Wehrman was a monthly winner in the QT's sports awards.
However, the 1996 December achiever has fond memories of his time in Ipswich.
After completing his A-League career with the Newcastle Jets, Wehrman wants to return to Queensland, possibly in a coaching role.
The former Goodna-based midfielder lined up for his second season with the Jets in their 3-2 victory over Melbourne Heart on Saturday.
"In the end, we got a bit of luck and the game came our way," Wehrman said of the Jets season opener after a drama-charged lead-up.
"Last year we didn't have any luck at all so we're glad to take anything we can get this year."
After the club's coaching sagas before the game, Wehrman was delighted how the Jets responded.
"It was a bit of a shock," Wehrman said of former coach Branko Culina being sacked last week.
"It's just one of those things that happens in football and you've just got to get on with it straight away."
Wehrman said under caretaker coach Craig Deans and with some of the best facilities he's seen, the team's main goal was to improve on last year's seventh spot and make the finals.
"He (Deans) is quite a young coach but he's got a good head on his shoulders," Wehrman said.
"He doesn't try to overcomplicate things. He's calmed everyone down.
"We want to finish top four.
"We've got the personnel as long as we stay fit and healthy."
In his second season with the Jets, Wehrman said he was happy in his new environment.
However, the Aboriginal footballer enjoys returning to Ipswich when he can to visit his family who are based at Goodna, Camira and Bellbird Park.
Among those are his mum Judy, who supported Kasey when the family moved from Cloncurry to build his football career.
"I still have great memories of all that," Wehrman, 34, said, keeping in touch with Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou and other Queensland players.
During his stint in Ipswich, Wehrman showed his immense promise, helping the Brisbane Strikers win the national league championship in the 1996-97 season. He was named under-21 player of the year after 49 matches with the club.
From there, the QAS scholarship holder transferred to Perth Glory, where he played in 47 games, before spending nearly a decade based in Oslo with clubs Moss, Lillestrom and Fredrikstad.
He was also capped 11 times for the Australian under-20 side.
Wehrman said the timing of his A-League return was excellent.
"The quality of football last year, especially from the Brisbane Roar, was world-class," Wehrman said, having enjoyed "every minute" of his time in Europe.
"I think people are going to start to sit up and notice.
"We're making World Cups regularly. I think we're going to get more and more players into Europe and our domestic league here is going to get stronger and stronger . . . having Socceroos coming back and good stars from Brazil and Europe."
Relaxing after his first 2011/12 A-League game, Wehrman was already looking beyond his playing days.
"I hope in the future one day I'll come back to Brisbane, hopefully doing a coaching role of some kind," he said, having worked with an under-14 team in Newcastle and Sydney.
Born: August 16, 1977, Cloncurry. Moved to Ipswich with family as a teenager.
Current club: Newcastle Jets (A-League) from 2010.
Former clubs: Brisbane Strikers (1995-99), Perth Glory (1999-2001), Moss in Norway (2001-03), Lillestrom (2003-07), Fredrikstad (2007-09).
Honours: 1998-2006: Australia. 1998-2000: Australia under 23. 1997: Australia under-20.
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