Pass or fail: How five top Ipswich teams rate so far
AS we enter the crucial period where premiership dreams ignite or final hopes fade, here's a snapshot of how five of Ipswich's top sporting teams rate so far.
1. IPSWICH JETS: Always a threat in the Intrust Super Cup but yet to live up to expectations this season.
The Jets remain the entertainers with plenty of skill and flair but other teams are starting to counter Ipswich's unorthodox methods.
The club is rich in quality people and has an amazing production line of talent like newcomers Jacob Teevan starting to make their mark. Co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker are class acts who welcome new opportunities and have built a family environment.
Yet the Jets continue to fall short in the games that matter. Injuries haven't helped and losing playmaker Josh Cleeland just as the Jets were gaining momentum was a cruel blow.
Their top eight hopes are rapidly fading this season.
2. WESTERN PRIDE: Facing relegation in this year's National Premier Leagues competition, Western Pride players, officials and fans have endured a season from hell.
The problems began in the off-season with the appointed football coach suddenly exiting and a major player exodus shattering the wonderful chemistry formed over the past two years.
Terry Kirkham has done a commendable job after being propelled into the top job earlier than planned.
Players like Cam Crestani, Jacob Minett and Alex Parsons have toiled hard all season and deserve credit for their loyalty. But Pride have struggled to score goals, mainly due to the loss of experience and fragmented preparations.
Their plight has improved slightly in recent weeks so all is not lost.
However, unless Pride escape relegation, it will be one of the saddest days in Ipswich football history, especially for the dedicated people who have worked so hard to promote higher level football in our proud sporting city.
Join the fight is the call. Fans need to support Pride now more than ever.
3. IPSWICH KNIGHTS: Promising signs all season with an injection of exciting young players stepping up and making an impact in the Queensland Premier League.
The Knights have beaten competition leaders Sunshine Coast and drew with promotion prospects Capalaba last weekend.
Under accomplished Ipswich coach Andy Ogden, the Knights have mainly performed with plenty of heart and commitment each week.
No team has really blown the Knights away this season as they remain in finals' contention.
However, more giant-killing performances are needed to make this season a success.
That aside, the Knights are so far Ipswich's best performed football side.
4. IPSWICH FORCE MEN: With a developing side under astute coach Chris Riches, the Ipswich basketballers are heading for the state league finals. Just probably not this season.
Riches is showing faith in Ipswich-bred players and doing a tremendous job building professional standards. However, the Queensland Basketball League remains a tough competition to reach the top in.
Force vice-captain Kyle Harvey is a scoring maestro virtually every week. Support players like Josh Spiers and Mitch Poulain are stepping up so the future is bright for a young, emerging side.
Riches' belief will hopefully be rewarded sooner than later.
5. IPSWICH FORCE WOMEN: Hot and cold by their high standards, the Ipswich Force women are still on target to finish in the top two for the second season in a row.
Consistency and last quarter fades have been a concern at times - issues one of the state league's most experienced coaches Brad George is keen to correct.
The Ipswich team has enough firepower to win the championship, especially when Amanda "AJ'' Johnson is on song, backed up by new recruit Amy Lewis and Force regulars Georgia Ralph, Bree Farley and Rachel Mate. However, AJ is struggling with back issues, which is a major concern, and Lewis is currently overseas. Her return will be most welcome.
If Force gets its best team fit and firing in tandem, they can go a long way in this year's QBL playoffs.
When the three-pointers start dropping, Force are exciting to watch and cheer on.