Ipswich Flyers representatives Mel de Kleyn (manager), Emilie McInally (captain), Nicole Grant (coach) and player Skye Sippel celebrate the team's success. The Flyers were named Team of the Year at the 2020 Ipswich Sports Awards. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich Flyers representatives Mel de Kleyn (manager), Emilie McInally (captain), Nicole Grant (coach) and player Skye Sippel celebrate the team's success. The Flyers were named Team of the Year at the 2020 Ipswich Sports Awards. Picture: David Lems

Right ingredients needed to be Ipswich’s team of the year

TO be Ipswich's team of the year in a city with so many tremendous regional performers, you need some special ingredients.

The Ipswich Flyers do, possessing a multitude of winning qualities.

Ipswich Flyers head coach Nicole Grant and co-captain Emilie McInally offered some valuable insights into why the Flyers were named Team of the Year at the latest Ipswich Sports Awards.

Reflecting on the Flyers 2019 Queensland Premier League (QPL) SEQ Cup grand final triumph, Grant said the right attitude was among the most important factors.

"Belief that you can win but still remaining humble,'' she said.

"Respect for your teammates and your coaching staff.

"Courage to push yourself at all costs.

"You need to put in the effort at training and in your own time.''

Grant's satisfaction was clearly evident after guiding the Ipswich team to victory in her first season as coach.

"Incredibly proud. It was such a great season from start to finish,'' she said.

"The team were keen to learn, had the right mindset and were completely focused on what needed to be done to get the win.

"The team believed in each other and that our team could win.''

Clinching SEQ Cup grand final over the accomplished Goodna Sapphires side was particularly satisfying for McInally and her teammates.

"We have rivalled Goodna and come off second best previously but through preparation, dedication and attitude, were triumphant in 2019,'' McInally said.

Apart from the on-court success, McInally was delighted to see her team recognised for its commitment, city pride, being role models and team values.

"It's such a great group of girls and we are really good friends,'' she said.

"This dedicated team attended training sessions, games, participated in Ipswich Netball Association's Saturday competition and attended functions, clinics and carnivals.''

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The Ipswich Flyers netball team that won the 2019 SEQ Cup grand final.
The Ipswich Flyers netball team that won the 2019 SEQ Cup grand final.

The Flyers compete against many other highly skilled teams playing weekly in Brisbane.

"It is a great achievement to be able to represent Ipswich and also our association at this level,'' said McInally, who has given the Flyers more than a decade of service.

"The majority of our team live in Ipswich and are proud to represent the city.

"The Flyers have been a high performing team for several years and we were honoured to uphold that characteristic.''

The Flyers leader said members of the team enjoyed coaching junior school and club teams.

"We have senior members of the team who are always role models for younger players encouraging them to be the best players they can be and to showcase positive values,'' she said.

She also acknowledged team physio Ben French for his efforts helping the team in recent seasons.

The 2020 Ipswich Sports Awards promoted strong values.
The 2020 Ipswich Sports Awards promoted strong values.

About to take a break, Grant said sharing in such a close-knit team environment enhanced her time as coach.

"The level of satisfaction of winning was the same for me as a coach as it would have been if I were playing. Maybe even more so,'' the former representative player said.

"I was so proud of the team and all that they achieved, how they continued to push themselves to do better and how they were all open to learn and improve.''

The Flyers had another productive year in the current delayed season.

Although the Flyers were unable to make the grand final, the team developed more talent and had Abby Gallagher promoted to the Jets Rubies squad.

"I haven't heard of anyone retiring as yet,'' Grant said.

"I think a few may trial for Jets next year.''

The Flyers received their latest honour at the annual Ipswich Sports Awards function, held at the North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre last Friday night.

Ipswich City Council back the prestigious awards, recognising regional achievers in a range of categories.

The Flyers have their presentation evening on Friday night.

"It has been an incredible experience for me, one that I am so grateful for and one I will never forget,'' Grant said.

"I have decided to take some time away from coaching the Flyers next year.

"I believe it's important that the girls I have coached for the past two years have an opportunity to learn from someone new.

"I will look to finish my advanced coaching course, enjoy a break and see what comes of 2021.''