NEW PATH: Ipswich Central Junior Australian Football Club president Sean McComb is keen to form an under-18 team representing the region.
NEW PATH: Ipswich Central Junior Australian Football Club president Sean McComb is keen to form an under-18 team representing the region. Sarah Harvey

Cats president works on building better pathway

CONSIDERING it's his first year as club president, Sean McComb sounds relaxed as he chats about his goals.

Running any football club can be challenging at the best of times, especially when the Ipswich Central Junior Australian Football Club is the region's main junior nursery for the sport.

Plenty of issues are on the agenda like working with other clubs, creating a better pathway for players, improving facilities and capitalising on interest from AFL clubs.

However, the Karana Downs-based plumber is thriving on helping young Ipswich Cats footballers.

"There's no really tough part. I'm enjoying the challenges,'' McComb, 44, said.

"I want to give the kids the satisfaction that I got out of football - the team comradeship and working together.''

The former ruckman played for the Ipswich Cats in the late 1980s and 90s, winning a premiership at Goodna before the club folded in 1995.

When the juniors started up again, McComb turned his hand to coaching. He's currently helping the under-12 Cats.

McComb is also keen to strengthen the club's under-18 base.

"The main area now is we're focusing on under-18s next year, for the very first time as well,'' McComb said.

"We want to make a good pathway because we lose our 16-year-old players to Brisbane clubs and it's a big jump from under-16s to Eagles (Ipswich's senior club).''

Such a team would help promising Cats juniors like Jake Farrell, who was recently selected in the Queensland under-15 schoolboys team for the nationals in August.

The club has been helping Jake with fees and fundraising initiatives (keep reading your QT for a separate story on Jake).

McComb is aware of past attempts to form better links between the junior Ipswich Cats and senior Ipswich Eagles clubs.

"This year has been good with Michael Podolak (Eagles president) and a very new committee,'' McComb said, encouraged by support for an under-18 team next year.

"What we are trying to work on is having our own Ipswich Cats team. With this happening, we're going to be a big attraction for all other clubs.''

McComb sees some exciting expansion possibilities for the region with the Collingwood Park club also working on future initiatives with Greater Western Sydney.

He hopes that leads to better facilities for the sport.

Mark Marsh Oval and the cramped clubhouse at Limestone Park are currently shared by the Cats, Eagles and cricket.

Although losing a girls team this season, the Cats have retained an encouraging number of players. More than 150 juniors play in teams from under-6s to under-16s.

"We have three under-8s - one more team. We have good numbers everywhere else so it's quite good,'' he said.

An under-6 competition starts after the school holidays following a successful Auskick program.

Born in Ipswich and raised at Sadliers Crossing, McComb has also been keen to help Fassifern.

The second-year club has been struggling to stage regular fixtures in the Gold Coast league.

"Myself and Fassifern president David Engleworth are working on practice matches together to keep morale up and give some game exposure for their players and members,'' McComb said.



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