Eagles on recruiting mission after losing ADF players
IT'S pretty rare for the Ipswich Eagles senior men's team to be on the receiving end of back-to-back thumpings.
However, after their latest 118 point defeat to Sandgate, the club is starting a recruiting drive due to an unfortunate situation this season.
The Ipswich club with strong military traditions is down on troops, literally, with so many RAAF and Australian Defence Force personnel currently unavailable.
"A lot of them have been away with work on exercises and stuff, which has always been challenging for us,'' Eagles club president Clint Bateman said.
"It's something we've had to deal with over the years but this probably this year, more so. It has an impact on our playing group - our men and our women.
"We've got probably a quarter of our women's team away with RAAF duties and it's the same with the men.''
The RAAF players can be unavailable from a week up to three months.
A spate of early season injuries also hasn't helped the Eagles senior men's and women's teams in this year's QFA Division 2 North competitions.
"We've taken a big hit now,'' the club president said.
The senior team was down about eight regulars in Saturday's 21.15-141 to 3.5-23 loss to unbeaten competition leaders Sandgate.
It was a similar situation the previous week where the Eagles men suffered a 144 point defeat to top four side Hinterland.
Ipswich has just one win from their first five matches.
As coach of the usually strong Ipswich women's side, Bateman started a recruiting campaign the past fortnight for additional female players.
He plans to do the same this week for the men's teams.
"We've got to see if we can get anyone who is keen to come and have a run,'' Bateman said.
"We've just got to get through this little period and stick together and show fight and work through it.''
With so many players unavailable on Saturday, about eight Reserve Graders stepped up from this year's young second grade side.
The depleted Eagles Reserves went down 15.15-105 to 1.5-11 in their latest game.
The Eagles Reserve went down 167-13 to Hinterland the previous week.
The Eagles Reserves have two wins from their opening five clashes.
The Eagles women lost Saturday's game 19-12, also to Sandgate. The 2019 grand final winners have two wins and two losses this season.
"Sandgate and Hinterland are two very, very strong teams,'' Bateman said.
"They have got some quality players that have played at a high level.
"Plus when you play away, it's always a challenge to get a strong team to play.''
Ipswich's task is no easier returning to Limestone Park next Saturday.
Moreton Bay are in third place playing the Ipswich Eagles senior side.
The Eagles women have to contend with traditional rivals Redcliffe on their home field.
"We'll stick together and we'll get through it,'' Bateman said, unsure when he will get a full brigade of players back.
"Hopefully in the second half of the season, we'll be back a bit more competitive and have a few wins.''