Ipswich’s champion women rebuild for next title shot
AS defending premiers and having lost some key players in the off-season, the Ipswich Eagles women could be forgiven for being nervous about this weekend's footy return.
However, club president and head coach Clint Bateman has no such anxiety.
Having been assistant coach of the Ipswich women's side that stormed to a historic grand final victory last year, Bateman is happy to be guiding the players this season.
Preparing for Saturday's QFAW Division 2 North season opener at Jindalee, Bateman was encouraged by his side's latest 93 point trial win over Kedron.
"We haven't been able to have any games until last week so we just had no idea where we're at,'' Bateman said. "But what we saw last week was pretty positive.''
He said the most pleasing aspect was not only the big win but the ability to kick goals and stop Kedron from scoring.
"It was the pressure all around the ground . . . and it set up a very good result,'' he said.
Although the Eagles have only retained about nine players from last year's grand final feat, Bateman believes the newcomers have fitted in well into his squad of more than 30.
"We've been back training full-time for about four or five weeks and they're going really well,'' he said.
"The new girls are just absolutely amazing.
"Until you see them play, you've just got no idea but they went really well so we're expecting big things from them this year.''
Being an eight round series before a top six finals showdown, Bateman said his team needed to win at least half their matches to qualify.
That was a formula that worked well last year as the team steadily gained momentum, peaking at the right time.
The Eagles head coach said captain Rebecca McCarthy was providing quality support, backing up after last year's grand final achievement.
"Bec's been amazing all pre-season,'' Bateman said.
"Her leadership has been really, really good.
"She's kept the girls motivated through all the COVID pandemic.''
The Eagles women open their season after both Ipswich men's senior teams lost their first round clashes last weekend.
With the men's sides having a bye, Bateman said a number of players were planning to support the women at Jindalee on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday (4.45pm) - QFAW Division 2 North - Ipswich Eagles v Jindalee at Jindalee Recreational Reserve.