Why country club Fassifern is in Ireland's heart
SCOTT Ireland has found a home, and it is where his heart is.
The 30-year-old Fassifern fullback is thriving in his third season at the club as he prepares for Saturday night's A Grade grand final clash with Goodna.
The QT caught up with Ireland at training on Tuesday night where he recalled his first visit to Hayes Oval for training three years ago.
"There was chook s*** on the field, cows coming through the fence and eight blokes at training,” he grins.
"I thought 'it can only get better', and it has.
"They took me in straight away and gave me a leadership role, and I have loved it ever since.”
Ireland played in 2015 under current coach Daniel Roos, and then captain/coached the side to the preliminary final in 2016 while Roos took a year off.
Now an assistant to Roos, Ireland says winning the premiership would be a just reward for a club that is more than a football club.
"After the way the club has improved over the last two years, it would be unbelievable to win it,” he says.
"I know we have quite a good squad this year but we are still a battling club.
"There is a lot of work that goes into helping get us a bit of depth.
"We don't have the depth like a Brothers or a Goodna.
"We have a clubhouse that was built by the Old Boys and locals.
"It is a grass roots club. The support we get from Kent and Narelle West, and the Ward and the Range families, is unreal.
"They have been here week-in and week-out for the whole time I have been out here and are the unsung heroes.
"They are volunteers and they give their time because they believe in it and buy into the culture that is here.
"That is what got me hooked from the start.
"There is no financial incentive for them to be here.
"They just love the club. There is something noble about playing for a club like this one.”
Ireland was signed to the Raiders as a youth and played in the local Canberra competition before moving up to Ipswich and signing with the Jets.
"I played for the Jets for two years and the plan was to then go back home, but I met my wife (Carmen) six months before I was due to go home,” he says.
"I ended up staying, then had a year with Easts but it didn't work out.
"The Jets weren't in a great place at the time and I was trying to resurrect my Q Cup career.
"Then I came back to the Jets before moving away for a couple of years for work.
But Ipswich was home and Ireland returned and had another swansong with the Jets; his third stint.
"My heart was always with the Jets but that final year was going to be it,” he says.
"I had played at the Jets with Mitch Range, the halfback out here at Fassifern, and he was always seeing me at the gym.
"We became good mates again and he asked if I wanted to come out to the club and have a look.
"I wasn't a local, in terms of playing juniors here, but I was open to playing footy again.
"I live in Brassall, and thought about playing with some of the clubs that are closer, but I came out to Harrisville for a training session and never looked back.”