IGS brigade continues tradition
LEADING HOPES: IGS First XI captain Joe Duckworth. CONTRIBUTED
IPSWICH Grammar School has long been recognised as one of Australia's leading nurseries for cricketers, athletes and rugby players.
However, the school's football traditions also run deep with a long line of promising players coming through the GPS ranks and reaching elite levels for Queensland clubs.
This season, a number of IGS products displayed their skills playing for Western Pride in the National Premier League and for the Ipswich Knights (Brisbane Premier League).
Exciting prospects like Lincoln Rule earnt a recent trial with A-League powerhouse club Brisbane Roar during his second season with Western Pride.
Rule's Pride teammate Devon Munn made the 2008 Australian Schoolboys side.
Chris Butler, Adam O'Sullivan, Mitch Davis, Dale Robinson, Matthew Flick and Luke Timberlake played for the Knights' top side this year.
Butler was named the Knights' player of the year.
Jasper Yeuell made his BPL debut for the Knights this season, fresh from impressing in recent GPS seasons.
The latest generation of IGS footballers also includes players like Joe Duckworth, Alex Parsons, Wilfred Kouakou, Jarrod Hyslop, Benjamin Barrett and Murray Thistlethwaite.
This year's first XI captain Duckworth played striker for University of Queensland in the BPL.
Golden Boot winner Parsons and Kouakou were part of the undefeated Queensland Metro under-14 team.
Hyslop represented the Queensland Metro under-13 side.
Barrett is in the Queensland Schoolboys under-15 team touring Japan at the end of the year.
Thistlethwaite is another IGS player with an exciting future, being a Queensland under-12 schoolboys representative.
For IGS director of football and basketball Mark Fancourt, the latest group is building on a solid foundation at the school.
"It comes from a lot of hard work from my predecessors," Fancourt said.
Fancourt hopes to continue the work of respected teachers like Nigel Lucas, Stewart Drinkeld, Peter Craig and Michael Stjepcevic. "I like to see our boys go straight into Brisbane Premier League and National Premier League sides as soon as possible," Fancourt said.
"Ipswich Grammar School works very collaboratively with the club systems to ensure that boys can play both competitions - both school and club - and therefore allow them a pathway to playing Brisbane Premier League and National Premier League when they finish school."
Apart from his passionate involvement in IGS sport, Fancourt remains a loyal servant at the Ipswich City Bulls. He was fittingly named Bulls' player of the year.
The Capital League 2 stalwart won the prized Brendan Madden Award for the club's top side after being player of the year in 2009.
But while that honour meant a great deal to him, Fancourt's thoughts are never far away from the IGS sporting program.
The science and PE teacher's research highlighted how much football talent has come through the school since Ipswich Grammar's first GPS game 23 years ago.
On that occasion, IGS beat fierce rivals Brisbane Grammar 4-0 before finishing runners-up in the inaugural championship.
"Since 1991, IGS has continued its position of pre-eminence in football, with consistently high standards of play, and producing some of the region's best footballers," Fancourt said.
"Ipswich Grammar School has maintained its status as one of the best football schools in South East Queensland since the late 90s.
"This is only achieved through constant development of the football program and ensuring the best possible coaching is available to IGS footballers."
Production line of talent
IGS have won GPS premierships in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2008, 2009.
IGS has produced over 50 state representatives in football and futsal over the past 20 years.
Among the IGS Hall of Famers are their greatest football 'old boy' Bob Lawrie. He attended IGS in 1933-34, going on to play 24 international matches for Australia between 1939 and 1953. Lawrie captained the team 15 times. Lawrie was inducted into the Football Federation of Australia's Hall of Fame and awarded a Medal of Excellence.
Other noted players include:
- Steven Jackson (IGS 1977-80). He captained Preston Makedonia and Brisbane Strikers in the former National Soccer League. Jackson was voted Queensland NSL player of the year in 1986 and Victorian NSL player of the year in 1987. He was a Clem Jones Gold Medal winner in 1997 and 1998.
- Lawrence Drake (IGS 1996-2000) played national league for the Brisbane Strikers.
- Matthew Barram (IGS 1998-2002) was an Australian Schoolboys goalkeeper.
- Alex Davani (1998-2002) was IGS school captain in 2002, leading the First XI invincible team which won the GPS premiership, Uhlsport Cup and Champions Cup that year. Davani also played for the Papua New Guinea men's team.
- Trent Rogers (IGS 2002-2006) was an Australian under-17 Joeys goalkeeper.