Brisbane Bullets and Australian Boomers basketballer Nathan Sobey has joined the Ipswich Force team. Picture: Megan Low
Brisbane Bullets and Australian Boomers basketballer Nathan Sobey has joined the Ipswich Force team. Picture: Megan Low

Top signing: Aussie player to suit up for Ipswich

GET excited Ipswich sports fans. One of Australia’s best basketballers could soon be wearing Ipswich colours.

Ipswich Force has unveiled the biggest marquee signing in the franchise’s history.

Brisbane Bullets and Australian Boomers basketballer Nathan Sobey has signed to play for Ipswich in the inaugural NBL1 North competition scheduled to start in Queensland next month.

Force head coach Chris Riches said Sobey would be a huge asset after returning from a holiday following his latest national league season.

“He’s like one of the best players in Australia at the moment,’’ Riches said.

Sobey, 29, is a 1.88m point and shooting guard from Warrnambool.

Apart from being a Bullets regular, Sobey was part of the Australian Boomers team that won the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Long-time basketball enthusiast Riches had been in contact with Sobey for some time, eager to secure his services for the revamped state league competition.

“Everything has just fallen into place and he’s going to be staying around in the area,’’ Riches said.

“Nathan is a true talent. There has been nothing like this in Ipswich for over a decade at least across any sport.’’

Sobey said he was “super excited to join the Ipswich Force and have the opportunity to build basketball in the local area’’.

The NBL1 North competition will effectively be a national league off-season for the high quality recruit.

Ipswich will benefit from his services with current captain Jason Ralph recovering from recent surgery and loyal American import Kyle Harvey returning to the city.

“He (Sobey) brings experience, quality of play . . . just having that guy that’s been at the level will just build a whole different level and feel to the team essentially,’’ Riches said.

“And also to our community because he’s super focused on wanting to improve the standard of basketball in our local area.’’

Ipswich Force's star recruit Nathan Sobey joins with head coach Chris Riches and 4Hearts Brewing Company backer James Long for the historic announcement.
Ipswich Force's star recruit Nathan Sobey joins with head coach Chris Riches and 4Hearts Brewing Company backer James Long for the historic announcement.

The 4Hearts Brewing Company is backing the IpswichForce this season.

The NBL1 North season is scheduled to start the Anzac Day weekend, subject to any issues with the coronavirus.

“We’re hoping by that time everything will be sitting in place in regards to how society is going to operate for the next six months,’’ the Force head coach said.

Riches said Ipswich’s planning was business as usual for the new NBL1 competition.

“We are fast approaching the start of the season proper, and we are currently in the pre-season with a number of new additions to the group in 2020,’’ Riches said.

Ryan Jeffries makes his return to Force.

“Ryan is a basketball journeyman having moved around the league playing in places such as Brisbane, Southern Districts and Logan,’’ Riches said.

Harvey returns to the Force in early April.

Riches said another valuable player was Jesse Ghee who returns following an outstanding season replacing Ralph when he was injured.

“Jason is on the mend as well, and looks to be well placed to return for the first game of the NBL1 North season,’’ he said.

Long-standing Ipswich juniors and association products such as Mitchell Poulain, Kane Bishop, Alec Godinet and Kobe Robinson are also returning.

Ipswich’s first scheduled match is hosting Logan Thunder on April 25.

Corporate seating and season memberships are available at Ipswich Force through https://www.trybooking.com/BIWZP