Fresh and ready Rush aims to get Eagles flying high

WHEN it comes to helping the Ipswich Eagles, few people have contributed more than Mick Rush.

He was named the Aussie rules club's coach of the decade and guided the team to its only grand final.

However, after a few years away from coaching, he's returned to the club this season feeling fresh and ready to again provide a level of stability.

"It's been good to get back with all the boys," Rush said, having last coached Ipswich in 2008 after a successful five-year stint with the Limestone Park-based club.

"It's labour intensive at times but I'm really enjoying it."

Rush is preparing the Eagles for their first SEAFL Division 3 game against University of Queensland Red Lions at UQ on Saturday.

The fitness fanatic has been working with more than 40 players since late-October last year.

He's happy to have some senior players returning such as Chris Devlin and Justin Cummings, along with some new youngsters.

"There's a good mix of older players that I coached when I was there last time and some guys I've never coached before," he said.

"It's a good time to come back because I'm a fresh coach again."

However, his main focus is helping the Ipswich Eagles work together after some unsettled seasons.

"The club struggled a bit on the field last year," the life member said.

"So I thought I might come back and help out and improve things a little bit from a coaching perspective. Things are looking pretty good."

Assisting the experienced Rush are Mark "Kanga" Kennedy and Reserve grade mentor Craig Harley.

"We've got a good coaching team and I think the players are pretty happy with everything at the moment," Rush said.

"One thing that has been missing for the club was to have more of a stable coaching unit. That's what we've got this year."

Rush was buoyed having 45 at training on Tuesday night, fresh from his team's recent Lightning Cup pre-carnival success against four south east Queensland sides.

"It was a good day. The main thing was it just exposed players to me," Rush said.

"It gave me an idea where they best fit in and also gave them a better understanding of the game plan."

Division three is a nine-team competition this season after Nambour, Caboolture and last year's premiers Redcliffe were elevated to Division Two.

The Eagles open their premierships season on Saturday at noon and 2pm at UQ.

The club's first home game at Mark Marsh Oval is against Griffith Moorooka on April 20.

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