Alex's final goal to complete fantastic Ripley season
FOOTBALL: After finishing his Ipswich Knights career in 2010, Alex Weatherby was unsure what his playing future would look like.
However, after moving north for work and returning to Ipswich, Weatherby is sharing in one of his most enjoyable football seasons.
The police officer is club captain of the Ripley Valley FC team tackling Capital League 3 competition leaders Logan Metro in the grand final on Friday night.
"I'm pumped absolutely,'' Weatherby said, reflecting on his team's remarkable debut season.
"From where we started to where are now, it's just come on leaps and bounds as well.
"To play in a grand final in the first year is just fantastic really.
"I'm loving it more than I have for years. It's been great.''
Former Knights junior and senior Premier League footballer Weatherby worked and played in Gladstone before having a run for Whitehill in the church league.
In their first season, Ripley Valley FC has provided plenty of surprises, securing promotion to CL2 next season along with making tonight's decider.
"Once we started to get a bit of a roll-on, that (promotion) was always going to be the goal,'' Weatherby said.
"We've achieved that and now we've just rolled on to the next one, which is trying to get a grand final win over Logan.''
Having been invited to join the club by former Knights teammate Brodie Kenyon, Weatherby knows why Ripley Valley FC have started so well.
"The management have done a really good job of it too . . . a really good bunch of blokes to play as well,'' he said.
"They've recruited really well, not just good players but good people. It's a really good atmosphere down there (South Ripley) and that's going to flow on into next year when I imagine a lot more teams will come out of the club as well - seniors and juniors.''
Logan beat Ripley Valley 3-0 in the qualifying final two weeks ago. However, Ripley were without some key players including Kenyon.
After beating Bethania Rams 4-0 in last weekend's preliminary final, Ripley have close to a full strength side for the return bout at the Logan Football Complex.
"It's going to be tough,'' the midfielder said, enjoying his captaincy role "as part of something new''.
"Logan are a really good team. They have got a lot of really good quality players, especially in the middle of the park but we'll have a full strength team - something we didn't have a couple of weeks back.
"We'll get those players back and we should be right . . . and see if we can throw something at them that they are not used to.
"Every time we've played them, it's been very physical so you've got to get in the battle early.''
CL3 grand final: Friday (7.30pm) - Ripley Valley FC v Logan Metro at Logan Football Complex.