Studious club president shares junior development delight
IPSWICH Eagles club president Clint Bateman has plenty to keep him busy either side of the Christmas break.
He is studying a Diploma in Sport and Recreational Management, which he is finding challenging but rewarding.
It is taking on such projects that reflects how Bateman is ever keen to better his sporting knowledge.
But as he works to complete his diploma by March, his thoughts are never far from the footy field - especially how to bolster the Eagles.
A number of players in the club's senior men's and women's teams have been undergoing pre-season training for more than a month.
As the teams finish up this week before the Christmas break, Bateman has been encouraged to have leading players like Tyler Hall and this year's league best and fairest Sophie Crawford keen to continue in 2021.
Crawford had a stellar first season playing Aussie rules, topping the best on-field count regularly while displaying her individual and team skills.
With a cluster of new players joining the club, Bateman is a happy club president.
But what also pleased the progressive official was the ongoing junior development.
As the Limestone Park-based club continues to promote young players, one team in particular has Bateman excited for 2021.
That is the Eagles under-12 combination preparing to play for premiership points for the first time.
A group of players have come through from under-6 at the Eagles, topping the ladder in this year's under-11 competition.
As they move up the grades, Bateman sees promising signs that will require future improvements at the club's Mark Marsh Oval base.
"Our junior numbers are growing each year and we are getting more and more women especially to the squad,'' he said.
"We definitely need to try to sit down with the Council and have a chat about what we'd like to do and a plan of attack.
"The club is growing on the field. We need to grow off it.''
The 2021 senior sides meanwhile will be coached again by Kym Mansell and Rex Watts.
Bateman is looking for an experienced women's coach to guide the side that made the preliminary final this season after winning a historic grand final a year earlier.
However, Bateman will continue coaching if no-one suitable is found.
"We don't want to hand over to someone inexperienced to such a quality squad,'' he said.
"We've got to make sure that whoever comes in is of good quality and knows what they are doing.''
With a stable and settled committee, Bateman said planning was well underway for next year's QFA Division 2 North senior competitions.
"Everyone has settled into their role . . . and organising what needs to be done,'' he said.
After disrupted, shortened seasons for the men and women, Bateman shared what is top of his wishlist for 2021.
"It will be great to win another premiership for one of the senior teams,'' he said.
"That should be always what we aspire to - thinking about winning.
"I'm just really looking forward to all the new players at the club and having our very first under-12 boys team playing for premiership points.''