Coach and Flyers soar
AFTER 30 years of giving to Ipswich netball, Tricia McInally is happy to take a little in return.
True to form though, she is happier the netball team she coaches was recognised, more than she is for her own honour.
That honour was receiving the Ipswich volunteer of the year accolade at the 2011 QT City of Ipswich Sports Awards last Friday night.
The Ipswich Flyers she coaches were named team of the year after winning the state Tier three Schweppes Challenge Division One competition.
"I was pretty happy about the Flyers winning," McInally said.
"It's really good for netball."
For McInally, the time she has given back to the sport as a volunteer is reward in itself.
"I just love it," she said. "It's in the blood.
"When you love something, it's not that hard."
She is just following the example set by her mother.
"Mum coached, umpired and played and was on the management committee as well for many years," McInally said.
"Dad even had to line the courts and mow the grass."
The values McInally inherited from her parents are being passed on, ensuring the future health of Ipswich netball.
The Flyers coach Ipswich juniors every Saturday with the Net, Set Go program for five to seven-year-olds.
Before that, there was the Fun Net program, which McInally helped develop.
She said the reward for volunteering was seeing young players develop and enjoy themselves and the friends you make along the way.
"Lifelong friendships," she said.
After receiving her award, McInally referred to 2011 as the "the icing on the cake" of her 30-year involvement in Ipswich netball.
"I've been waiting a long time to win this Division One premiership," she said.
"I don't know how many years.
"I've got to the grand final quite a number of times and we've always been bridesmaids."
She has almost wiped the (relative) failures from her memory but reckons the Flyers have lost at least three grand finals under her charge.
"But we've always made the final four," she said.
McInally is backing up again next year and expects to have all her team on board, though none are guaranteed selection.
"I can't say who'll be in the team," she said.
"They'll all have to trial again."
After 30 years, McInally is pretty sure she knows what makes a strong netball team - including everyone equally and providing an enjoyable environment.
"I feel if I'm coaching and I've got 10 girls on the team, not one should sit on the bench more than any other," she said.
"Everybody needs to play to get better.
"In our grand final, we only had eight players because two were out. We were still able to win it because everyone had played. And all the girls like each other.
"I think me, Kaye (Suthers) and Donna (Bramwell) provide a happy environment."
The annual Ipswich Sports Awards were backed by Ipswich City Council, The Queensland Times and sponsors Metro Hotel Ipswich International, Nu Grow Landscape Soils, ABC 612 Brisbane, Recruitment at Top and Watershed Premium Wines.