Who are these Ipswich people deserving a medal for making a difference?
Who are these Ipswich people deserving a medal for making a difference? Rob Williams

Seven Ipswich 'good sports' making an impact: Who are they?

1. Nicole McPhee (Ipswich Jets).

The self-confessed Jets "jack of all trades" has been a friendly face and valuable asset at the club for the past six years.

McPhee's duties include creating and ordering jerseys, planning functions, organising themed game days, game-day operations and compliance, working with the community and social media.

After Jets CEO Richard Hughes started last year, McPhee moved in to a commercial sponsorship role.

"That is exciting as now I have time to really create some fantastic sponsorship activations and grow our sponsorship family more to include our netball sponsors as well,'' McPhee said.

The launch of Jets netball teams in this year's Sapphire and Ruby Series have given McPhee an additional focus, building on the Ipswich organisation's traditional rugby league and growing touch football base.

McPhee is ever-helpful, keen to promote the Jets "family''.

"Every day is different,'' she said. "I love that I never spend two days in a row doing the same thing. I'm never stuck at a computer and I am always meeting new people.

"I love when a crazy idea I have had turns in to a reality. . . Defence Force Day, Harmony Day, Afternoon of Indulgence and the Indigenous Artwork competition are a few examples.

"I believe that the Jets are leaders in community engagement.

"We are also passionate about grassroots football and keeping talented players at home as long as they can and create a pathway to the NRL.

"I believe that having a state-based competition in Ipswich allows us to be the face of Ipswich and shows that we are just as competitive as the rest of the state.''

 

Nicole McPhee
Jets "jack of all trades'' Nicole McPhee

2. Brent Nicholls (Ipswich hockey).

When it comes to promoting hockey in Ipswich, Nicholls deserves a gold medal.

He is among the first to support all aspects of the game.

Nicholls has coached his teams to multiple titles, with his current Wests' A-Grade women unbeaten and chasing another grand final victory this season after dominating in recent seasons.

The Magpies showed their class in beating Toowoomba's top side Rangeville 4-2 in last weekend's annual Combined Competition final.

Nicholls respects the past and plans for the future.

He's always developing new talent and encouraging the next generation.

His insights after Wests' latest win typified his vital sporting approach.

"All the younger ones have stepped up,'' Nicholls said.

"What we've really tried to concentrate on is now that we're almost two-three years into the system, they are all just building games in A-Grade. So when they get to a game like this and they're under pressure, they are not like they were two years ago. They've got 40 plus games under their belt now.

"It's being in the dugout, being around these experienced guys and getting big games under their belt.

"All of a sudden, they're not overawed. They take that back to Reserve Grade and they just keep going.''

The former state player praises umpires at every opportunity and offers honest insights into what is happening, without being overly negative.

With Wests celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, Nicholls and his club supporters have plenty to be proud of. And Ipswich hockey benefits as much as Wests.

 

Combined competition hockey match played between Wests and Norths Toowoomba at Ipswich Hockey Complex on Sunday.  Wests coach Brent Nicholls.
Wests coach Brent Nicholls. Rob Williams

3. Chris Riches (Ipswich Force).

The Ipswich State High School teacher is the ultimate professional. And that's not only in his thorough approach to coaching the Ipswich Force men's state league basketball team.

Riches puts Ipswich player development ahead of any other priority.

While other Queensland Basketball League associations stock up on higher-profile players, Riches actively supports Ipswich's youth-focused strategy.

Players like Force captain Jason Ralph have thrived for a number of years, having come through the Ipswich program.

Teammates Mitch Poulain, Marty Leahy, Kane Bishop and Kobe Robinson are others making a statement in the QBL, built on their local foundations.

The Force head coach expects improvement and works hard to set a high performance commitment in his basketball blueprint to reward local effort and to engage fans.

As an educator, he clearly enjoys seeing Ipswich players rise in the competitive state league environment.

Even on school holidays, Riches is focused on what he can do next to continue the progression.

 

New Ipswich Force state league basketball men's coach, Chris Riches at the Ipswich Basketball Stadium.
Ipswich Force coach Chris Riches Franca Tigani

4. Vic Pascoe (athletics).

It doesn't matter what time of the year it is, Pascoe is never far away from an athletics training field or event.

While spring and summer are the traditional athletic seasons, Pascoe maintains an active approach and support network during the cooler winter months.

He's a fanatic in the best possible way.

Pascoe has been an exceptional coach over many years, guiding countless Ipswich athletes to higher level events.

He's also been a fantastic mentor and counsellor, at the side of Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors during their competitive highs and lows.

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Ipswich's athletic supremo. He provides relevant and timely information on his athletes, supported by photos and videos.

The former Ipswich Citizen of the Year gains immense satisfaction seeing his charges achieve their goals, be it at a local competition at Bill Paterson Oval, or representing Queensland or Australia.

Vic is also a motorsport and trotting enthusiast, regularly playing a vital role promoting local achievements in those sports.

 

Ipswich and District Athletic Club official and coach Vic Pascoe
Ipswich and District Athletic Club official and coach Vic Pascoe David Lems

5. Andy Ogden (Ipswich Knights).

Former Coalstars footballer and long-time Ipswich supporter Ogden has been doing some terrific work at the Ipswich Knights in recent seasons.

With his senior team about to contest the Queensland Premier League finals, Ogden has been building stronger ties between the club's under-18 and under-20 sides, feeding into the higher level competition.

Giving younger players an opportunity is often governed by injuries and unavailability, especially at this stage of the season.

However, the head coach has actively promoted teenage talent throughout the season as the Knights continue their progress.

Ogden is also one of the most approachable and professional coaches in the city. He's always available and has an excellent reputation working with other loyal Knights coaches and officials trying to create a healthier football environment.

Having been part of successful Coalstars team as a player, he knows the importance of city pride and continually looking for more ways to bolster improvement.

 

Qld Premier League soccer match between Ipswich Knights and Mitchelton at Booval on Sunday. Knights bench.
Ipswich Knights coach Andy Ogden (second from right). Rob Williams

6. Anthony Breeze (rugby league, sports fanatic).

Of all the people focused on helping Ipswich, Breeze is up with the best.

Affectionally known as "Bomber'' the ever-helpful sports lover is the first to share his widespread knowledge, especially on all matters rugby league.

Bomber is on the Rugby League Ipswich board, an appointment where he can contribute to the future development of the game.

He regularly acknowledges Ipswich sporting achievements at home and aboard, reinforcing the city's fine sporting traditions and next generation of exciting talent.

Having been an indoor sports official, Bomber knows the demands and sacrifice needed to be successful. But the Parramatta Eels fan also appreciates the rewards that come from being successful, especially representing Ipswich.

His weekly QT column offers valuable insights into the many sporting teams he follows and events he attends.

His opinions are always laced with Ipswich pride and passion.

 

Anthony 'Bomber' Breeze has been named on the Rugby League Ipswich board.
Anthony 'Bomber' Breeze Rob Williams

7. Michael Nunn (rugby league).

Arguably the Ipswich Jets' biggest fan, Nunn lives and breathes rugby league.

Although he cheers for the Broncos and Hawthorn, Nunn credits Ipswich for forging his tremendous knowledge of the game and the people that matter.

"To work for the team from the city you love is pretty is rare and I love it,'' Nunn said.

His weekly QT column and regular work for the Queensland Rugby League offer colourful but relevant information and profiles. His reflections with footy greats of the past are always entertaining.

The year five teacher started at the Jets running water with the colts team after coming on board in 2008. At that stage, he was assisting all three grades.

He started filming games for Jets co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker, providing halftime analysis and helping the players identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Despite moving to Brisbane for work, he's remained fiercely loyal to Ipswich.

"When we (my wife Bec and I) had the boys, it just got too hard to be at training and travel so I asked what else can I do and got the gig of records and writing,'' Nunn said.

"Then I sourced the column and that's become my role. Writing for the QRL has just come from that.''

Nunn said Brad Wolens helped him get started, involvement he's so glad he accepted.

"I just love it mate,'' he said. "It's pretty simple . . . school, family and footy.

"I love league and a natural extension of that is the Jets.

"All I ever wanted to be was a Jet. Dad and my grandpa would take me to games so working for them is the next best thing when you have no ability whatsoever.''

 

New QT Jets columnist Michael Nunn. Photo: Contributed
Michael Nunn. Contributed