Ever alert Ipswich Force guard Marney George.
Ever alert Ipswich Force guard Marney George. Megan Low

Retiring Marney shares fine Ipswich memories

IPSWICH Force co-captain Marney George is clearly relieved not having to name the favourite basketballer she's played with.

There's been so many.

But wrapping up her 15th and final season, she's happy to sum up what she's enjoyed most.

"I love it. I wouldn't change it. It's been great,'' she said.

Apart from working with so many accomplished coaches, George has come through an Ipswich system that has developed some fine players and attracted elite basketballers from around Australia and overseas.

Preparing for Saturday night's quarter-final in Mackay, George recalled some of the players she built friendships with as a teenager in 2002. They include Melissa Clayton (nee Scaroni), Sam Cumming (nee Brecknell), Kaitlin Anning and Angie Connellan.

Ipswich's representative teams were called Eagles in those days, before becoming Force in 2007.

Fifteen years later, George is lining up in her eighth final series for Ipswich.

One of her most enjoyable moments in the state league was Ipswich's inspired semi-final victory in 2013.

"We beat Gladstone (78-60) in the semis, which we weren't expected to do,'' she said.

Another milestone was the 2006 season where she achieved the highest three-point average (45 percent) across state leagues in Australia.

She was representing Ipswich in the Southern Cross competition at that stage.

The next year, the former Australian Schoolgirls representative graduated from North Idaho College after a three-year stint in the US.

But after being the fittest of her career, she was ironically struck down by glandular fever and could only play three state league games for Ipswich in 2007.

Despite that, George has few regrets playing for Ipswich.

She's been part of the Ipswich side playing finals the past six seasons after earlier making the playoffs in 2010 and 2005, when former Bullets maestro Brian Kerle was coach.

Marney was also mentored by former Ipswich Olympian Trish Cockrem during the 2008-10 seasons.

She enjoyed linking on court a couple of seasons with her sister Tegan Ward (nee Lee).

And she even met her husband Brad at Ipswich stadium.

Brad was coaching D-League and Marney was playing for Ipswich when the courtship started and flourished.

They married in 2012.

But some things never change, like pre-game routines.

Marney still likes wearing her favourite socks and undies in games and is the last to leave the dressing room.

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