Why dedicated Ipswich couple plan wedding during season
SUCH is Ipswich Force captain Jason Ralph's commitment to his team, he's planning to get married during a bye weekend in this year's Queensland Basketball League season.
However, when his fiancee Georgia Williams is also a basketball fanatic, the well-liked Ipswich couple wouldn't have it any other way.
Jason and Georgia, 24, are lining up for Force in their season-opening games against Mackay at Ipswich stadium on Sunday.
As they launch their respective 2019 state league campaigns, Jason and Georgia will continue planning their June 8 wedding when neither Ipswich side has a match.
That union will bring together two of Force's most consistent and loyal players, sealing a bond created through their love of basketball.
However, for this weekend, the focus is on making a winning start after productive pre-seasons, especially for the Force men.
Force men's head coach Chris Riches got his squad together earlier to continue last year's development work with a largely youthful side.
Preparing for his ninth QBL season and second as captain, Ralph endorsed Riches' approach.
"Chris is awesome. He's a great coach,'' the former Ipswich Grammar School student said.
"He's the right man for the job in Ipswich because he's developing the juniors and investing a lot of time into the juniors, which is what people want.''
Having a more settled squad has also helped Ipswich entering a new season.
"It's the first time in the past few years we've actually had our full squad for the first game of the year,'' he said.
"We were always waiting on a guy or two but we've got a full squad. We're ready to go so there's no excuses.
"We're looking good.''
That comes after the extra games and training leading into this season, with a young side building unity.
"We've had a long pre-season but it's been good,'' Ralph said.
"Everyone is still developing so we're nowhere near our peak and that's the best part.
"We'll continue to develop throughout the year.''
Ralph is joined in the leadership group by vice-captains Kyle Harvey and James Kuon.
As for this year's QBL draw, Ralph said it was a testing start against northern teams like last year's semi-finalists Mackay and Rockhampton in the first two weeks.
"They (Mackay) didn't reach the grand final so I think they will have a lot to prove this year,'' he said. "But they also have a little bit of a different team, a new coach, so it's very hard to scout a team like that.''
Ralph was happy to have some Friday and Saturday night doubleheaders coming up next month and in early June.
"We're lucky. We're kind of getting our doubleheaders out of the way nice and early,'' he said.
Ipswich Force men's and women's teams open their 2019 QBL campaigns on Sunday afternoon (1pm and 3pm) at Ipswich stadium.
Force's other home games are:
May 10 (Friday night): v Rockhampton.
May 11 (Saturday): v Gladstone.
June 1 (Saturday): v South West Metro.
June 2 (Sunday): v Toowoomba.
June 28 (Friday): v Gold Coast.
June 29 (Saturday): v Brisbane Capitals.
July 14 (Sunday): v Logan.
August 3 (Saturday): v Southern Districts.