WESTERN Pride's spiritual on-field leader Lincoln Rule is realistic enough to know he must work even harder to secure a contract with A-League champions Brisbane Roar.
However, the Ipswich born-and-bred footballer is well on his way after being invited to trial with Australia's leading national league club.
Rule, 23, started training with the side last week, being invited by head coach Mike Mulvey.
"I'm loving it. It's awesome," Rule said.
"It's another step and it's been quite difficult so far but I find it pretty enjoyable.
"The goal is to get a contract out of it but at the end of the day, it's a great experience as well."
Exciting midfielder Rule played in a Roar trial match against Redlands, receiving a full second half to show what he can do.
Rule had previously represented Ipswich Invitational sides against the Roar. However, this time he was in the middle of their swift and stylish ball movement.
"It's a lot better. It's fast," he said.
"I'm not used to having that much of the ball.
"I touched the ball more than I've touched the ball in a game before."
Mulvey said Rule was one of three new players being trialled by the club.
"We believe in giving local guys an opportunity," Mulvey said, backing the state league as a strong development ground for future A-League talent.
"Lincoln seems to be somebody who has got something.
"What we've seen of him, he's got the ability to maybe develop further and that's a good sign."
Mulvey said Rule would continue training with Roar in coming days to see how he progresses.
"We bring them in for a couple of weeks, give them a chance to acclimatise and see how they develop," Mulvey said.
"He'll then go back to his club and then see if he improves and then we might take a longer term view."
Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle appreciated Roar's willingness to give state league players a higher level opportunity.
"It's a huge boost for Western Pride," Boyle said.
"It just shows the NPL (National Premier League) is the pathway and there is opportunities there for players - male or female - if they have the drive and desire to achieve."
Other Pride players like Laura Welfare have also been watched closely in recent months. Welfare is recovering from surgery.
However, Rule is the first senior player from the region's major football club to undertake training with Roar.
"For Western Pride and Lincoln in particular, he's been born and bred in this region," Boyle said.
"What a huge accolade for him as a player."
Rule has been the backbone of the Pride side during the new club's first two seasons in the NPL state competition. He's been a fine ambassador for the club.
"We'll see what happens," Rule said of his new opportunity.
"All I can do is give my all and hope a contract eventuates from it.
"He's a really good bloke Mike. I really enjoy training with the Roar so far."