Ipswich Eagles coach Kym Mansell. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Eagles coach Kym Mansell. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Eagles making transition from losing close games to victors

ALWAYS reflecting on the game and looking for ways to improve, Kym Mansell was clearly disheartened with last season.

Even with the disruptive COVID challenges, he expected more from his Ipswich Eagles side.

The loyal clubman also questioned what he could have done better in the QFA Division 2 North competition where Eagles teams regularly make the playoffs.

"It was very disappointing that we didn't make the finals,'' Mansell said.

"If you have a look at the calibre of players we had in our team, and then the bar we set ourselves . . . we were probably the most underperformed team last year.''

However, what a difference an off-season of realistic reflection achieves.

Preparing for the 2021 season scheduled to start after Easter, Mansell has changed his pre-season focus to improve his team's transition play.

"We've regrouped,'' said Mansell, who is an Eagles club founding member.

"One of the biggest things we've been working on at training is our transition running and consistency.

"The main focus is working on our game plan and adjusting it a little bit.''

The squad of 40 is training Tuesday nights at Limestone Park and Thursday evenings at Woodcrest College while the cricket season is on.

Having resumed training two weeks after Christmas, the head coach is confident he has the players capable of making a major impact in this year's competition with 15 teams.

That hope has been boosted by a 2021 top eight finals format after a 16-game season.

Sandgate and Gympie are back in the Division 2 North competition this year after sitting out last season. Yeronga moves from Friday night football into the Saturday matches.

The Eagles have lost some fringe first team players from last year and regular Jarrod Prakelt.

However, former West Australian premiership winner Tyler Hall returns as captain, having shared in Ipswich's frustrating 2020 season.

Hall didn't get to showcase his diverse talents last season.

He'll work this year with a leadership group including teammates Jack Boston, Jordan Godfrey, Hayden Carthew-Zimmer and Josh White.

The Eagles have their first practise match against UQ in a fortnight.

Rex Watts will be Reserve Grade coach again, having worked with a group of young players last season.

The Eagles women's side is being coached by club president Clint Bateman with Rebecca Mccarthy leading the side.

Bateman has been impressed with Mccarthy's ongoing leadership qualities.

"Bec is back on board. She's been amazing since we started back up in November in our pre-season,'' Bateman said.

"Just leading from the front, working hard. Not just on the training track but off the field with any club jobs that need to be done.

"She looks fit so pretty pumped to see how she goes through the year.''

Ipswich Eagles captain Rebecca Mccarthy. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Eagles captain Rebecca Mccarthy. Picture: Cordell Richardson

A squad of more than 30 women's footballers have been training, with new players arriving regularly.

The women's season is scheduled to start on April 24.

The Ipswich club is also planning to field junior boys and girls sides for 5-17 year olds for the first time and an Auskick program for kids aged 5-12.

The club is holding come and try days for under 13, under 15 and under 17 girls on Thursday and the following Thursday.

The sessions to try footy start at 5pm at Mark Marsh Oval, Limestone Park, on both days.