LEADING FORCE: Four players hoping to guide Ipswich to victory in Rockhampton tonight are (from left) vice-captain Rory Sutton, women’s co-captains Courtney Taylor and Marney George, and captain Zarryon Fereti.
LEADING FORCE: Four players hoping to guide Ipswich to victory in Rockhampton tonight are (from left) vice-captain Rory Sutton, women’s co-captains Courtney Taylor and Marney George, and captain Zarryon Fereti. CONTRIBUTED

Force eye glory on Rocky road

IPSWICH Force co-captain Courtney Taylor could easily be called the team's reluctant big match performer.

She's a consistent contributor who often dodges the limelight due to her modesty and work commitments as a business manager.

However, the dependable guard involved with Logan's national league team last season can also fire up at the most important times.

She did that with 20 points, inspiring her team in last year's stunning 78-60 QBL semi-final win over Gladstone.

It lifted Force into their first QBL grand final.

While Mackay went on the next night to secure the title, Force showed in the tough doubleheader weekend how they can upset a competition heavyweight.

Twelve months later, Taylor is hoping Force can upstage Rockhampton on their home court in tonight's state league semi-final.

"It's going to be tough but if we are all on the same page, there's no reason why we can't go to the grand final again," she said.

Taylor, 25, is in her first season as co-captain with another fiercely loyal Ipswich player Marney George.

"We've played quite a bit together so it's always been good," Taylor said. "We get along well, the whole group gets on well.

"She comes off the bench, it's nice. She can talk to the girls on the bench while I'm talking to the girls on the court and vice versa."

With Ipswich Force for 16 years starting as a junior, Taylor last season trained with Logan in the Women's National Basketball League competition. She received one match at the higher level.

"To get on was an honour so it was a good experience," the speedy 157cm guard said.

"I learnt a lot, trained with some good players."

However, her focus this weekend is helping the senior side she's been an integral part of for seven years.

The Force teams are due to arrive in Rockhampton this morning, having lunch and an afternoon sleep or walk to "chill out pretty much until game time".

In the previous QBL clash, Rockhampton won by four points, also in Central Queensland.

"We didn't play the best," Taylor said. "Having a double-header it's hard to come back the second day and we had a few players out with injuries so it will be a different ball game."

Force will this weekend be strengthened by having Lauren O'Sullivan back and in form.

Asked what happened in last year's huge semi-final upset, Taylor said "I have no idea" before sharing what Force needs to replicate tonight.

"In the finals, we just clicked and we figured we've got nothing to lose, nobody expected us to win," she said.

"We went out with that attitude and it paid off.

"We're looking good again."

Game day

  • QBL semi-finals tonight in Rockhampton: Men (8pm) - Fifth-placed Ipswich (10 wins, six losses) v 1st-placed Rockhampton (14 wins, two losses). Previous encounter: Rockhampton won 88-75.
  • Women (6pm): Fourth-placed Ipswich (13 wins, three losses) v third-placed Rockhampton (13 wins, three losses). Previous encounter: Rockhampton won 76-72.


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