Eagles nest undergoing transformation
IPSWICH Eagles president Clint Bateman hopes a complete overhaul of the Limestone Park facilities will help make it "feel like a club, rather than just a team playing out of a council ground."
The Eagles' current dressing rooms "have been here for almost 20 years" according to Bateman, but through the work of former president Andrew Thompson and in conjunction with AFL Queensland and Ipswich City Council, the current president hopes to usher in a new era.
"Andrew worked his butt off with AFLQ and the council, and his two years of hard work has paid off," Bateman said.
"We're just so excited."
Work has begun on the Limestone Park site, with the Eagles and council hopeful the facilities will be fully fitted by the start of round one in early April.
Key to the upgrade was AFLQ sending demountables previously owned by the Gold Coast Suns back up the Pacific Motorway.
Bateman believes the gesture was a smart investment from the governing body, having identified the Western Corridor as a boom growth area.
"I'm sure there were a lot of clubs that put in (for the demountables), but with where we are and our growth potential I think AFLQ realised the infrastructure we currently have only helps to sustain not grow," Bateman said.
"We needed something like this to help our club grow. Our junior numbers are growing, and we will have a women's team from next year.
"It was really important they jumped on board, I think it was a smart move from AFLQ."
Bateman believes the new facilities, which are expected to include a gymnasium and medical/rehab rooms, will help attract players to the club who may otherwise have looked elsewhere.
"We have blokes from down south who come up and take one look at our facilities and walk away," Bateman said.
"Our change rooms at the moment are quite small. The new ones will be at least three-times the size of what we have now.
"We'll have an office and admin area for our board and committee members, and greater storage options.
"People want to go to a club with facilities they can use, and provides them a good footy club feel.
"I think these changes will make us feel like a football club, rather than a team playing out of a council ground."
The Eagles' senior side made the QFA Division 3 grand final this season, and Bateman is quietly confident the team can build on that success again in 2018.
"Kym the senior coach has done a magnificent job in not just getting some new senior recruits, but keeping pretty much the entire playing list," Bateman said.
"These facilities will add to the atmosphere and excitement about what the boys could achieve.
"There is plenty for us to be excited about."