Coalstars reunion revives memories of top Ipswich battles

The 1997 Coalstars soccer team that played before Ipswich Knights was formed from a merger.
The 1997 Coalstars soccer team that played a final game before Ipswich Knights was formed from a merger.

COALSTARS proud footballing traditions will be enjoyed when the Ipswich Knights host Easts at Bundamba next weekend.

A reunion has been organised on July 16 to mark the 53rd year since Coalstars became an Ipswich club.

It's also 20 years since the club ceased playing, amalgamating with St Helens to form the Ipswich Knights Football Club after the 1997 season.

Former Coalstars official Ross Hallett said the latest reunion is for everyone who had an association with the club as a junior, senior male or female player, coach, manager, official, committee member or supporter.

"However, this year we are endeavouring to reach out to those who were associated with Coalstars in the final year of it's existence 20 years ago,'' Hallett said.

Hallett said another reason the reunion is important centres around next weekend's Brisbane Premier League opponents.

Ipswich Knights players Peter Drager (left) and Dale Robinson try out the clubs Brisbane Premier League away strip for the 2017 season.Photo: Contributed
Ipswich Knights players Peter Drager (left) and Dale Robinson try out the club's Brisbane Premier League symbolic away strip being worn next weekend. Contributed

Easts, currently second on the Brisbane Premier League competition, have evolved over the years from Merton Rovers, a long-time opponent of Coalstars for more than 30 years.

"For the first time in 20 years, the sky blue, red and white colours of Coalstars will be seen at Bundamba when the Ipswich Knights wear their new away strip at home for the first time,'' Hallett said. "That in itself should be enough to bring along a bumper crowd to enjoy a great day out with old friends.''

Pictured is the Coalstars first grade team that played the last game at Bundamba in a XXXX Premier League competition match. The game was on Sunday, August 10, 1997.

Coalstars lost 2-0 to Brisbane City, allowing them to clinch the premiership that year.

Coalstars' final game was two weeks later, also at Bundamba, on Sunday, August 24.

"There was a big crowd on hand when we played Wynnum in a second leg Queensland Cup quarter-final and won 1-0,'' Hallett said. "But it wasn't enough to overhaul Wynnum's 3-0 lead from the first leg.

"The curtain raiser was a friendly and final 'local derby' played between St Helens 1st Division and Coalstars Premier League Reserve sides. It was an entertaining and hard fought match, reminiscent of many past encounters between these two past rivals. Appropriately, it finished in a 3 all draw.''

After those games, the Coalstars and St Helens clubs were dissolved in preparation to form the Ipswich Knights.

In the 1997 Coalstars photograph are (top from left): Wayne Mitchell (vice president) Michael Cassidy, Brenley Jefferd, Wes Parks, Marcello Cuba, Pat Boyle, Peter McKendrick, Peter Hinks, Wayne Adams, Ross Hallett (president), Don Stenzel (manager). Bottom (from left): Lorraine Weatherby (strapper), Paul Barry (coach), Darren Petie, Andrew King (captain), Richie Hilli, Frazier Cuba and Mark Bennett.

The Knights Brisbane Premier League side has this weekend off.