Sweet sorrow but my next challenge awaits ... on TV

Journalist Paul Smeaton is leaving print journalism to try his hand on the small screen.
Journalist Paul Smeaton is leaving print journalism to try his hand on the small screen. Rob Williams

IN THE words of William Shakespeare, "parting is such sweet sorrow".

While the famous phrase spoken by Juliet to Romeo is an oxymoron, I pen my final column for the QT today understanding its meaning better than ever.

From next month I will be moving into TV as a sports reporter but my brief and fulfilling time in the QT sports department will remain in my memory for much longer.

It's hard to say what I'll miss most about a city that is as passionate about sport as any in Australia. However, I thought I'd reflect on a few of my highlights over the last one-and-a-half years.


RARE PRIVILEGE: Dealing with Ipswich Force men’s coach and basketball legend Shane Heal was a highlight at the QT.
RARE PRIVILEGE: Dealing with Ipswich Force men’s coach and basketball legend Shane Heal was a highlight at the QT. File

As a lifelong basketball player and fan, my one season covering the Ipswich Force was a privilege and a thrill.


The fact that the club chose to recruit Australian basketball icon Shane Heal as men's coach for my one season was either divine intervention or a favour from the Ipswich Basketball Association.

Both Shane Heal and women's coach Brad George were fantastic to talk to all season as were their players who performed brilliantly despite being outspent and outgunned by most of the northern Queensland teams.

Watching teenage WNBL player Nadeen Payne was a particular highlight. See her in an Opals uniform in the near future.

Leaving behind my Ipswich Rugby League reporting round is a bitter sweet pill.

Apart from the fact it takes a year or two to make yourself known to players, coaches and officials, I will desperately miss my Sundays at the footy.

One of the reasons I made a late career change to sports journalism was I tended to spend my weekends watching sport anyway so why not get paid for it.

Each Sunday as I sat at another IRL match, I knew I was right.

From the passionate fans at Brothers, to the "bomb shelter" at Hayes Oval at Fassifern or the relocated Tigers at the Reserve, Sunday at the footy was my favourite working day of the week.

As much as the sports, it's the people I've met that I'll also miss. After all, that's what sport is all about. So here's a few that will be hard to forget.

Brothers forward Sione Piutau is the nicest guy you'd meet off the field but has a serious case of white line fever.

Used as a bench impact player by coach Mick Wilson, I looked forward to the betting on how long it would take for him to give away a penalty after coming on to the field. The record was about 20 seconds.

Josh Roberts is one of those blokes you hated growing up because he was better than you at everything. Ipswich's super local sportsman is widely regarded the best in rugby league and baseball.

Ryan Stolberg is Ipswich basketball. You'll wait a lifetime to find someone who has a bad to word to say about the Force stalwart. Enjoy retirement big fella.

There are so many more as well as the Aussie sport legends like Heal, Wayne Bennett and Jamie Whincup I've had the privilege to interview for the QT.

So it's time for my next challenge but let me leave by saying Ipswich, it's been a pleasure.

Topics:  opinion

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