Ipswich Eagles president Clint Bateman.
Ipswich Eagles president Clint Bateman.

'Call me President Clinton'

IPSWICH Eagles senior club president Clint Bateman knows when to feign vanity.

The proud Eagles clubman has a "put my hand up” mentality which his club has leaned on in times of need, over 17 years of dedicated service both on and off the field.

But just how 'Aussie' got the presidency is also testament to his character.

"We didn't have a president for about three months, and the club was waiting for someone to take on the role,” Bateman said.

"I jokingly said I'd do it so everyone could call me President Clinton.

"I didn't expect everyone to say, 'Yep, it's all yours'.

"But I'm glad I did (put my hand up). It's been challenging but also rewarding.”

Bateman has since overseen a successful overhaul of the club's senior playing stocks in recent seasons to great affect.

The A-Grade side will play in their second-consecutive grand final on Saturday, and are favourites to win.

Installing fellow Eagles stalwart Kym Mansell as coach was the start.

"In 2016 we just avoided the wooden spoon in Seniors and Reserves. We were struggling to find players,” Bateman said.

"We needed a senior coach. We advertised and no one was willing to take the role, so Kym said he would do it.

"We worked hard. We contacted a lot of players, put the feelers out there, and it's built to be way more than I thought it would.

"To make two grand finals in two years, if you told me that at the start I would have laughed.

"We have so many great people around the club making it what it is now. It's created a great atmosphere around the place.”

Bateman takes particular pride in senior former Eagles juniors playing key roles in the A-Grade side.

"It's great to see all these young kids that have grown up in Ipswich coming through,” he said.

"Guys like Tyson Watts, Jordan Godfrey, Shaun Cooper . . . guys we coached at under-16 level that are now playing senior footy. That's probably one of the most rewarding things, looking at the next generation.”

Bateman said a grand final victory for the A-Grade Eagles on Saturday would be the perfect reward for effort, not just for himself, but the entirety of the Eagles family who have never tasted premiership success.

"I hope the guys in this game realise there are thousands of people who hold this club dear in their hearts. It will be massive,” he said. "People have given a lot of hours and effort to the footy club.

"Winning the flag would be a huge reward for everyone. I feel sorry for Ipswich city if we win. It will be a big party that will probably go for a few days.”

Callum Dick