REVEALED: The top 10 Ipswich sporting greats

Ipswich's top 30 greatest from the past 30 years.
Ipswich's top 30 greatest from the past 30 years.

10. Ash Barty

It's not what Ash has achieved already, it's what she's destined to win in the near future. The two-time Tennis Australia Newcombe Medal winner is regarded as one of the most exciting players on the world tennis circuit.

Winning the 2011 Junior Girls Wimbledon championships was an early sign of the Springfield player's international promise.

Ash's rise to a career-high WTA ranking of No. 15 in the world only tells a small part of why she is so highly regarded. She has a tremendous work ethic and singleminded focus to succeed.

While her international career is only really starting, Ash has already displayed the qualities that has her matching the world's best.

Anyone who watched Ash play as a 12 and 13-year-old against women in Ipswich Pro tournaments, quickly recognised how good she is.

She has received the Keys to the City in recognition of growing status.

A fan of her mum's home cooking and a keen angler, Ash is also proud of her Indigenous heritage.

Ash Barty has the tennis world at her feet.
Ash Barty has the tennis world at her feet. Franca Tigani


9. Ali Brigginshaw

Regarded as the best women's rugby league five-eight in the world, Ali is a true Ipswich champion.

She has guided Australia to two World Cup victories and captained the Brisbane Broncos team that won this year's inaugural Women's National Rugby League competition.

The player of the 2017 World Cup final has also been a terrific servant for Queensland sides.

But she's never forgotten where she comes from. Ipswich born and bred Ali regularly attends schools, encouraging the next generation to achieve their sporting dreams.

Ali is a wonderful story of persistence, juggling work and training to represent her country at a time before women players started to earn more respect and financial assistance.

Making her Queensland and Australian Jillaroos debut in 2009, the former Raceview State School and Bremer State High School student helped lay the platform for greater recognition for women's rugby league players.

The Norths junior and current Brothers representative player had to endure injury setbacks, including breaking her right fibula in three places playing for South East Queensland. She took up boxing to improve her stamina, also showing promise in the ring with an Australian Golden Gloves novice title.

Before making her name in league, she was a top touch footballer growing up in Ripley.

Australian rugby league player Ali Brigginshaw.
Australian rugby league player Ali Brigginshaw. Mark Evans


8. Deborah Acason (nee Lovely)

Deb is the ultimate sporting allrounder, having excelled in athletics and cycling and making an Australian rugby squad.

However, the pinnacle of her history-making career is what she has delivered in weightlifting. She is Australia's most successful international women's competitor in the sport, having contested five Commonwealth Games.

Deb has a full set of Commonwealth Games medals, including gold at the 2006 Melbourne Games. She earlier won silver and bronze medals representing Australia at the 2002 (Manchester) and 2010 (Delhi) Commonwealth Games. She was also chosen for the 2014  Games in Glasgow and this year's Games at the Gold Coast.

Along the way, she's shed tears and many kilograms to serve her country with pride. At the same time, she's savoured the rewards of her sacrifice.

Deb won three Queensland titles in cycling.

She won a bronze medal in discus at the 1999 World Youth Championships in Poland.

Away from elite competition, the inspirational sporting mum has been heavily involved in community projects, coaching and helping young people pursue their sporting ambitions.

Earning the right the Queen's Baton before this year's Commonwealth Games underlined what the former athlete, cyclist and rugby player is all about. She never quits.

Deb Acason is Australia's most successful female weightlifter, having excelled at multiple sports.
Deb Acason is Australia's most successful female weightlifter, having excelled at multiple sports. Contributed


7. Craig McDermott

The aptly-named "Ipswich Pace Ace'' who grew up in Raceview will long be remembered as one of Australia's finest cricketers.

He made his international debut when living in the city.

Nicknamed "Billy'', Craig had a terrific international career, spearheading the Aussie side's attack and being the country's leading wicket-taker for a number of years.

In the Test arena, Ipswich-born Craig delivered several devastating spells, including 8/141 at Manchester in 1985 and 8/97 in Perth in 1991. His best five bowling performances for Australia were all against England.

After making his Test debut against the West Indies in 1984, the right-arm fast bowler represented Australia in 71 Tests and 138 One Day Internationals. He snared 291 wickets in Tests and 203 in ODIs, taking five-wicket hauls on 14 occasions in Tests.

He played in Australia's 1987 World Cup win in Calcutta, also being a key member of the Aussie team at the 1992 and 1996 World Cups.

He later became a national bowling and assistant coach, helping Australia plot a 2015 Ashes series success over England.

Former Ipswich cricketer Craig McDermott shares his bowling knowledge with the next generation of young players.
Former Ipswich cricketer Craig McDermott shares his bowling knowledge with the next generation of young players. Luka Kauzlaric


6. Kerrod Walters

The 1988/89 Sportstar of the Year was a wonderful ambassador for Ipswich. Kerrod lived in the city for many years after playing baseball for the Ipswich Musketeers and rugby league for the Ipswich Jets on his way to international honours in that sport.

Kerrod was always a personable sportsman, happy to share his highs and lows, even during the tumultuous Super League era when he moved to Adelaide.

He lived in an old Queenslander on Warwick Road for a number of years after growing up at his family's famous home at East Ipswich.

After playing for the Ipswich Jets, he represented the Brisbane Broncos in 181 matches (1988-96) before stints with the Adelaide Rams (1997-98), Gateshead Thunder (1999) and finishing back at the Broncos.

The hooker lined up in seven games for Queensland and eight matches for Australia, where he made his debut in 1989.

In 1992, Kerrod and twin brother Kevin created history when they joined older brother Steve in the Australian squad for its three-week Ashes tour of England.

Kerrod shared in Broncos premiership successes with Kevin and Allan Langer.

Rugby league fans will remember his many hooking battles with NSW tormentor Ben Elias. Kerrod also had to battle for major representative honours with his older brother Steve.

Former Queensland and Australian rugby league hooker Kerrod Walters
Former Queensland and Australian rugby league hooker Kerrod Walters QT file


5. Kevin Walters

The former Ipswich Jets coach and current Queensland Maroons mentor is known as much for his larrikin streak as his rugby league achievements. However, there is no doubting the jack of all trades' place in Ipswich sport.

Kevin attended East Ipswich State School, Bremer High and Ipswich Grammar School, playing for Booval Swifts before going onto the Ipswich Jets in 1986, Canberra (1987-89) and finishing his NRL career at the Broncos.

He represented Queensland 23 times between 1989 and 1999, and played 11 matches for Australia.

He's always had Ipswich running through his blood, making his international debut while living in the city.

One of his greatest strengths as a rugby league player was his attacking versatility, able to inspire his team at five-eighth or halfback. He will be remembered as the player who dethoned Queensland's King Wally Lewis in his first season at the Broncos.

Kevin, along with twin Kerrod and other brothers Steve, Andrew and Brett, used to imitate their idols during countless mock Test matches in the East Ipswich backyard of their parents Kev and Sandra.

Kevin always enjoyed taking on the role of NSW rugby league great and former Ipswich Jets coach Tom Raudonikis.

Kevin was named 1990/91 Ipswich's Sportstar of the Year.

He coached the Ipswich Jets to the Queensland Cup finals in 2007 before accepting an opportunity with the Catalans Dragons professional club in France. Kevin later became assistant to Melbourne Storm mentor Craig Bellamy.

Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters, his latest role in an illustrious rugby league career.
Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters, his latest role in an illustrious rugby league career. Mike Knott BUN091118LEA2


4. Shane Watson

Ipswich-bred Shane did as much behind the scenes during his early days in the city as he did climbing the representative cricket ladder.

On his path to becoming a full-time international allrounder, he often worked with young Ipswich cricketers, offering them advice and encouragement. With people like well-known teacher Les Kinnane, Shane enjoyed attending junior clinics. The Shane Watson Shield is named in his honour.

Watto received the Keys to the City at the 2011 Ipswich Cup, recognising his valuable contribution to the region.

As a player, Shane excelled at all levels despite some challenges with injury setbacks and getting dismissed regularly by LBW. But he displayed trademark fighting spirit and flair in his batting. He was named vice-captain and led Australia at times, including in One Day Internationals.

Growing up at Eastern Heights, Watto played for Brothers Cricket Club where he was coached by his dad Bob, Garry Sherwood and Don Bulow. He attended Ipswich Grammar School where he remains one of the sporting legends.

Among his achievements were winning back-to-back Allan Border Medals as the country's best cricketer. He later starred in the Indian Premier League.

He scored 3731 runs during his 59-match Test career, with a highest score of 176. His international one day career was even better with 5757 runs from 190 games, including a best of 185 not out.

One of the reasons Watto received the Keys to the City was due to his long-held support for the city.

The morning after belting 161 not out against England in Melbourne on January 16, Shane came home to help those battling after the major Ipswich floods.

Less than 24 hours after playing on the velvet green of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he played among the flood rubbish on David St in North Booval.

Ipswich's international cricketer Shane Watson
Ipswich's international cricketer Shane Watson Rui Vieira


3. Tammy Cole

Tammy was one of Ipswich's leading allrounders representing Australia in hockey and indoor cricket. She also made an Australian rugby league squad and state vigoro team, highlighting her diverse talents.

She had a reputation for her tenacity and determination, especially battling a series of injuries like dreaded shin splints. She always appreciated her upbringing and proudly represented her city in whatever sport she pursued.

In hockey, the halfback represented the Queensland Scorchers from 1993-2003 and Australia in 80 internationals from 1994-2002. Her highlight at Australian level was sharing in Australia's bronze medal-wining feat at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

The Ipswich-born achiever also played in three Champions Trophy tournaments (1997, 2001 and 2002) and 2002 World Cup.

She shared in premiership success with Thistles in the Ipswich hockey competition before stepping up her Brisbane competition commitments.

As an indoor cricketer, the former Silkstone State School and Bremer State High student was also fiercely competitive, inspiring many representative teams to success.

She played a leading role in the Australian team which toured New Zealand in 1989. She was the youngest player in the Aussie side when she debuted in 1988.

At one stage after being named as an Australian shadow hockey representative, she had to drive across Hobart to represent Queensland at the indoor cricket nationals.

Tammy was inducted into the Hockey Queensland Hall of Fame, rated a player with the qualities of a great "Queenslander''.

But even after retiring, she was still looking for a challenge. One was riding 1200m from Brisbane to Sydney to raise money for charity.

Former Australian hockey player Tammy Cole.
Former Australian hockey player Tammy Cole. QT file


2. Peter Vogler

Nicknamed Yowie, Peter was a monster performer by any measure. He was arguably Ipswich's most feared sportsmen during his many years representing Ipswich, in his 400 national league games, for Queensland and Australia in baseball. He was also a dangerous striker playing soccer for St Helen's, the Ipswich Knights and Queensland.

Yowie could perform any role asked of him, especially in baseball where he represented Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and at the Atlanta Games in 1996. The Ipswich Musketeers stalwart was a powerful left-handed batter with a strong arm in the centre field. Catchers were in danger when Yowie slid in to complete a run.

Similarly in soccer, he was a striker no defender enjoyed tackling, especially goalkeepers.

During nearly two decades at the top of his sport, the Flinders View plasterer rarely had a holiday such was his commitment to baseball and soccer. He played sport all year round, lining up for Ipswich Musketeers at the old Spring Street grounds and for St Helens at the Ebbw Vale fields.

Peter was named Ipswich's Sportstar of the Year for 1992/93.

In 2016, he was inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was the only Australian named in an honorary All Stars side after the 1993 Asian championships after making the 1988 World Allstars team.

The former St Joseph's Primary and Ipswich State High School student made the ABL All-Star team five times between 1989 and 2007.

He regularly starred for the Brisbane Bandits and Gold Coast Cougars during his national league career. He also was a leader in Queensland's Claxton Shield successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Peter shared in Musketeers four consecutive grand final victories in Brisbane Major League competition in the late 1980s.

In 1999, he hit the winning run for Australia to beat Cuba in the gold medal match at the Intercontinental Cup in Sydney.

Ipswich sporting great Peter Vogler
Ipswich sporting great Peter Vogler QT file


1. Allan Langer

Alfie Langer's outstanding rugby league career and his passion for Ipswich justify why he remains arguably the city's best known and most successful sportsman.

Born in Ipswich in 1966, the "Little General'' has achieved it all.

His long list of accomplishments include 25 matches for Australia, 37 games for Queensland and 258 appearances for the Broncos. That included four National Rugby League premierships.

Alfie won Dally M awards for being player and halfback of the year. He won Clive Churchill and Rothmans medals for his on-field deeds.

The Ipswich-bred footballer won four man-of the-match honours in State of Origin and was a five-time Broncos player of the year.

Calling the on-field shots for every team he played for, the regular captain was inspirational. His clever kick and chip game was showcased when he played for the Ipswich Jets in 1986 and 1987.

The Norths junior became a favourite of rugby league legend Tom Raudonikis and never looked back.

Fittingly, the Ipswich Jets top club honour each season is the Allan Langer Medal.

From a proud Ipswich sporting family, Alfie continues to make his presence felt as Broncos assistant coach and for his on-field training efforts in State of Origin encounters.

He is one of Ipswich's most recognisable sporting faces, inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2008.

Allan "Alfie'' Langer. The Queensland Times Archives

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