Having enjoyed an outstanding season with the Brisbane Roar, Daniel Bowles goes 1v1 with the PFA to gives us an insight into the drive that has seen him excel throughout the 2015/16 season, the unity amongst the players in the face of adversity, his passions off the pitch and much more.

Q. The end of the 2014/15 saw you get an extended run in the team; how determined where you to build on this when you returned for pre-season?

DB: The end of last season I worked my way into the team and I was happy with the way I developed. Heading into this season I knew I needed to have a big pre-season as I really wanted to establish myself and secure a starting position. At the Brisbane Roar we have really good depth and I knew it would be a challenge. We have had a really good year as a team and I have been lucky enough to play a lot of games.

Q. There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the club during the off-season, but as a team you remained professional and continued work extremely hard; how did you manage as a group to do this?

DB: It was well publicised that there were some issues at the club. In terms of the playing  group John (Aloisi) came in and kept us updated and made sure we knew how important it was that we focused on our football and let that sort itself out. We did that and had a great pre-season and I think this season has shown the group of players we have, we are strong both physically and mentally.

Q. The playing squad seems extremely close; how important was that during those difficult times?

DB: It is almost a cliche that everyone says they have a great dressing room at the club they are at. I have been in a few dressing room and I can say at Brisbane we are extremely close and are all really good friends. On the weekends you can really see that, especially when we have picked up points late in the game. We play for one another and that just drives us forward.

Q. With the uncertainty of the off-season were you relieved when the season got underway?

DB: For us the season could not start fast enough. We knew we were going to let the games and our football do the talking. We wanted to remind the fans and everyone in football in Australia that Brisbane Roar is a big club and that it has been successful in the past and will continue to be.

Q. Your form throughout the early matches saw you nail down a starting spot. How different was it going from a player who was trying to force his way into the team to one who was trying to keep others out?

DB: For any player you want to be starting and I was no different. I had to work for my spot in the team and had to work extremely hard at training. I got my chance in the team and I had to continue to work hard to keep my spot. We do have a great squad here in Brisbane and we are always challenging each other and I still believe I have a long way to go. I’m in a great environment here because we are always driving each other.

Q. Your form saw you rewarded with a new two-year contract with the Roar, having enjoyed such a great season did that just top it off?

DB: I’m a Queenslander and grew up in Toowoomba.I went to the first ever Brisbane Roar game in the A-League and I have been a massive supporter of the club since I was young. To sign a two year deal with the club is great for myself and my family. We are loving it up here in Brisbane, with the football we are playing and the support from the playing group and club  it was just a no brainer.

Q. You spent time away from the club at Adelaide United and Gold Coast United did this fuel your ambition to return closer to home?

DB: Part of the game can be living away from home. For me it was great to come home and I guess it is more so the playing the group and the environment at the club that is the driving force force for me wanting to he here. We play great football with guys I love hanging out with; it’s quite simple for myself.

Q. You also own and run a cafe in Brisbane , how did this come about?

DB: Myself and my wife have had the cafe Little Loco for just over 12 months. It was something that we planned on doing once I had finished playing the game but then an opportunity arose just around the corner from where we live in Brisbane. We saw a hole in the market in the area and we just jumped right in and took a gamble. It is something we have grown into and really love it.

Q. Since you bought Little Loco your form has been outstanding do you think it has played a part in this?

DB: I honestly believe it has played a massive part. We train early and on some days finish early and you can have the whole day to stew on a bad result or what could be and for me I don’t think that is healthy. I think for any footballer you should have an outlet outside of the game, something that you can devote energy into. For me it is not only important to plan for when you are finished playing but also to have the right mindset whilst you are playing and if you can put energy into other outlets, for me, that is a positive.

Q. Finally, has running a cafe been something that has been supported by your teammates and the club?

DB: I think that for players who are looking to do something off the pitch it is important that not only the players support it but that the club and coaches do as well. It is so important because it can have a big impact on you on the pitch as you will start to see that football is not everything. Once you see this I think you enjoy the game more and appreciate it more for what it is. I have been very fortunate at the Roar that they have supported me.

The PFA offers business mentoring services to members looking to start their own business, for more information contact your Player Development Manager or email the National Manger, Player Development, Ben Robertson:  ben@pfa.net.au.
Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with a current or former player to gain an insight into the lives of footballers on and off the pitch.

Playing Images by Chad Gibson / Local FC.