The city of Ipswich and its regions are synonymous with the game of rugby league and this iconic area has accumulated a fair share of history after more than 100 years of participating in the game.
Current XXXX Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters hails from the town, while Allan Langer is another State of Origin great who got his start in the region.
Ipswich notched another rugby league milestone recently when the Ipswich Junior Rugby League and Ipswich Senior Rugby League clubs voted in an overwhelming majority to amalgamate the former incorporated associations, and create a “company”.
This new entity will oversee the operations of the game in the region.
The inaugural Ipswich QRL Local League Board of five members was elected by the club members, in conjunction with the Annual General Meetings for both the Ipswich JRL and Ipswich RL bodies.
The Directors elected are: John (Jack) Rhea (former Ipswich RL Chair), David Nugent (former Ipswich Juniors Chair), the former Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood, community leader Denise Hanley and Craig Maudsley.
This structure was first discussed by the clubs at the conclusion of the 2012 year, following a review of the region undertaken by current NRL Chief Operating Officer Brian Canavan.
One of Canavan’s recommendations was the formation of one “management” group for the game in each Local League area.
This model is also in accordance with the Sport Governance structure adopted by the Australian Sports Commission, which is supported by the QRL.
The South East Queensland Division Board members met in January this year to review the Local League governance structures and to determine the most suitable model to support the game into the future.
Once developed, this model was then presented to the clubs in a series of consulting sessions, for both the Ipswich and Gold Coast league communities.
Brisbane has also recently commenced this consultation phase to adopt the united governance group.
This consultation and development process was championed by Division Chair Brad Tallon and managed through Independent Board member Dr Rachel Baird.
Tallon said it was a “momentous day for the game, not only in Ipswich, but throughout Queensland as well.
“The joint effort approach should provide a greater relationship and encourage a growth in participation numbers”.
He also praised Dr Baird for her dedication to achieve this milestone on the back of open and frank consultation.
It is hoped that the Gold Coast clubs will also embrace this new structure when they meet to vote on the proposed changes.