Some of the region’s most loyal sportspeople, like Tonga Mounga, kicked their teams to success during a winter they will never forget. Picture: Bruce Clayton
Some of the region’s most loyal sportspeople, like Tonga Mounga, kicked their teams to success during a winter they will never forget. Picture: Bruce Clayton

Revealed: Ipswich’s top 21 winter sport leaders

DURING this year's incredibly challenging winter season due to COVID restrictions, a number of Ipswich representatives stood tall.

Some powerhouse performers put their hand up to lead the way, inspiring others with their deeds.

In the first of a two-part countdown, check out the first 11 achievers who have made a massive impact in recent months.

Diminutive midfielder Hayden Carthew-Zimmer. Picture: Rob Williams
Diminutive midfielder Hayden Carthew-Zimmer. Picture: Rob Williams

21. Hayden Carthew-Zimmer (Aussie rules)

The ever-dependable Ipswich Eagles midfielder was recently rewarded with the team's best and fairest award for this year's QFA Division 2 North competition.

Although the Eagles were unable to make this year's shortened season finals, Carthew-Zimmer was the standout.

What he lost often being the smallest player on the field, he made up with his massive heart.

He was praised by head coach Kym Mansell for his "monstrous'' effort during one of the rain-affected encounters. But whenever the Eagles took the field, Carthew-Zimmer was heavily involved, leading the way with his commitment.

Ipswich State High co-captain and Norths rugby league player Lachlan Williamson
Ipswich State High co-captain and Norths rugby league player Lachlan Williamson

20. Lachlan Williamson (rugby league)

The Ipswich State High School co-captain played a leading role reviving his team's Langer Cup hopes this season.

With his accurate kicking and calm manner, halfback Williamson helped guide Ipswich State High into the finals where they lost to eventual winners Palm Beach Currumbin.

Williamson regularly directed his team's attack and made an impact with his improved kicks, an aspect of his game he worked hard on.

Earmarked as a player of the future, Norths junior Williamson recently made his A-Grade debut for the Tigers in the Volunteers Cup competition.

Ipswich State High School rugby league co-captain Deijion “DJ’’ Leugaimafa. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich State High School rugby league co-captain Deijion “DJ’’ Leugaimafa. Picture: David Lems

19. Deijion Leugaimafa (rugby league)

Ipswich State High's other co-captain "DJ'' displayed his versatility and speed during the Langer Cup competition.

He made some sensational runs from the backline and was eager to create attacking opportunities for his side against some quality schoolboy opponents.

He earnt a late Volunteers Cup call-up to the Goodna side which steamrolled its way through the A-Grade competition.

Although DJ didn't get a run in the recent Volunteers Cup grand final, he received a satisfying reward. He has been offered a two-year deal with NRL club South Sydney.

 

Exceptional talent Zac Profke is an attacking threat whether at club or representative level. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Exceptional talent Zac Profke is an attacking threat whether at club or representative level. Picture: Cordell Richardson

18. Zac Profke (hockey)

Ipswich's most lethal penalty corner striker was part of this year's Norths A-Grade team which featured in a gripping grand final duel with Hancock Brothers.

Although the 2020 "COVID'' hockey season was shorter than usual, Profke was dangerous in every game he played.

His incredible speed and striking power landed several goals for his team, furthering his reputation as a Queensland player of the future.

That was also underlined when Profke was invited to an Australian Institute of Sport camp.

 

Rangers captain Cal Waldrum was man of the match in the Normanby Cup grand final. Picture: Bruce Clayton
Rangers captain Cal Waldrum was man of the match in the Normanby Cup grand final. Picture: Bruce Clayton

17. Cal Waldrum (rugby)

The Ipswich Rangers captain was named man of the match in his team's recent 32-3 Normanby Cup grand final victory at Woodend Park.

Having led the undefeated side professionally all season, Waldrum saved his best until the final game of the season against Logan.

He controlled the whole match with his kicking and positional play at number 10, capping his team's wonderful rugby season.

 

Ipswich Knights captain Jack Cabassi. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Knights captain Jack Cabassi. Picture: Cordell Richardson

16. Jack Cabassi (football)

The Ipswich Knights captain has endured a testing season battling mid-season hamstring issues.

However, he continued to command respect on and off the field.

His defensive skills ensured the Knights were competitive in all but a handful of Queensland Premier League matches this season.

As a club leader, he also ensured Japanese teammate Sho Otsuka received a fitting farewell before the injured midfielder returned home recently.

Cabassi arranged for Otsuka to experience some Queensland beach life having devoted most of his time to working around training and playing for the Knights.

It was a fine parting gesture in difficult times.

 

Ipswich Force co-captain Georgia Ralph.
Ipswich Force co-captain Georgia Ralph.

15. Georgia Ralph (basketball)

Managing an elbow injury in her shooting arm, Ralph played a vital role as Ipswich Force co-captain.

She helped her young teammates build winning momentum to qualify for the Queensland State League (QSL) semi-finals.

Although the Force women were overrun by QSL champions Logan in that game, the Ipswich team developed some exciting prospects, including Catherine Macgregor and Iris Cubit.

With a calm and confident approach, Ralph contributed some invaluable performances, especially when three-point shots were needed.

 

Ipswich Eagles footballer Sophie Crawford won the league's best and fairest award in her first season playing Aussie rules. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich Eagles footballer Sophie Crawford won the league's best and fairest award in her first season playing Aussie rules. Picture: David Lems

14. Sophie Crawford (Aussie rules)

The Ipswich Eagles midfielder underlined her all-round skills by winning the QFAW Division 2 North best and fairest award in her first season playing the sport.

She polled points in nearly even game, recognised for her fearless, fast and consistent brand of footy.

She credited much of her endurance to being a firefighter. But she was also a determined sportswoman with a strategic mind.

Crawford played a leading role in getting her team to the preliminary final during a highly competitive women's season.

 

Norths rugby league stalwart Tonga Mounga. Picture: Bruce Clayton
Norths rugby league stalwart Tonga Mounga. Picture: Bruce Clayton

13. Tonga Mounga (rugby league)

The Norths enforcer retired after the recent Volunteers Cup grand final leaving a legacy for future clubmen to follow.

His toughness, kicking skills and leadership set lasting examples for the Tigers young guns he helped inspire this season.

After scoring the last try of the grand final, the crafty centre knew it was time to stand aside.

Unfortunately for the hardworking and consistent Tigers point scorer, his Ipswich A-Grade career ended without another victory.

However, he had earlier shared in four Tigers A-Grade grand finals, winning two.

In a boost for the club, Mounga is planning to coach Norths juniors in the future.

 

Ipswich Knights goalkeeper Zayne Freiberg. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Knights goalkeeper Zayne Freiberg. Picture: Cordell Richardson

12. Zayne Freiberg (football)

The Ipswich Knights goalkeeper has battled through some injury issues to remain one of the best shot-stoppers in the Queensland Premier League.

He is team-minded, fearless, agile and above all durable.

As one of Ipswich's leading footballers for many years, Freiberg kept his side in many games this season, making some superb saves.

His skills were on show in last Friday night's local derby against Western Pride. Freiberg's speed and sharp reflexes repelled Pride's attempts to challenge the home side.

 

Ipswich Flyers netballer Emilie McInally
Ipswich Flyers netballer Emilie McInally

11. Emilie McInally (netball)

The Ipswich Flyers leader has been one of the most dependable and loyal players in the Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup competition.

During a decade of representative service for Ipswich, McInally has helped her side make many netball playoffs, capped by last year's grand final triumph.

During a disrupted 2020 netball season, she has continued to work closely with other senior Flyers players to represent her side with pride.

As head coach Nicole Grant rightly highlighted, McInally's number one priority is her team.

"On court, she fights for every ball, holds her own against physical opponents, never gives in and is fiercely competitive,'' Grant said.

"Off court she is kind, considerate and will do anything for her team, hosting many team bonding activities.

"Emilie is a role model to her teammates. The players know they have a leader who will fight for them on court and be there for them no matter the result.''

Tomorrow: Who made the top 10?