IPSWICH has a proud and long sporting history that is the envy of many cities in our country.
From the first Australian Socceroo captain in Alex Gibbs to the current Rugby League Jillaroos captain in Ali Brigginshaw, there is not a sport where our city has not produced national and even World Champions.
Sadly, for too long we’ve been overlooked for infrastructure for facilities from grass root sporting levels all the way to our lack of first class sporting venues.
The recent Lions Stadium at Springfield is a notable exception, and the only two games its hosted so far have been sell outs, indicating our city has the capacity to embrace such facilities and opportunities.
I grew up in Hargreaves Street Eastern Heights, and hockeyroo Barry Dancer was our next door neighbour while Olympian Rosie Milgate lived a couple of houses away on Lloyd George Street.
Barry won a silver medal at the 76 Olympics and coached the Hockeyroos to their first Gold Medal in 2004, and Rosie finished 4th in the 76 Olympics in the 800m freestyle.
I went to primary school at Silkstone, where former Socceroo Bob Laurie was my coach.
As a kid I never fully appreciated the significance of our sporting history until now when we see our elite athletes leaving our city for better facilities and opportunities.
We have national champion athletes in Jude Thomas, Charlize Goodie, Toby Stolberg, Dakota Stewart and Luca Gigliotti training at the minefield track at Limestone Park.
Each of these athletes, and other up and comers are a good chance of making the 2032 Olympics, and I believe they should have a tartan track to train on.
The Olympics will be on our doorstep in just nine years, and while they are touted as the Southeast
Queensland Olympics our city has been overlooked. We could have hosted such sports as judo, fencing and weightlifting at our long overdue convention centre.
The State Government has just awarded $54 million to Rockhampton for upgrades to their rugby league facility, and while I don’t begrudge Rocky, I just want to know where is our stadium?
Shayne Neumann has pledged $20 million from Federal Government towards a rebuild of the Reserve, but we need more than that to build a decent facility.
Our city has produced many Rugby League greats over the years.
With the lure of money, our best players, naturally move away to chase their dreams. I’d love to see a National RL and National Soccer team sharing facilities at the North Ipswich Reserve.
The Dolphins arguably got the nod as the 17th NRL franchise as they have a stadium and this week it’s sold out.
It’s time we had a stadium and were able to host big games. I’d love to see Ali Brigginshaw lead the Jillaroos out on her home ground.