Why opening of Ripley fields so valuable to community
FOOTBALL: It's a local derby duel that could determine which Ipswich team ultimately secures promotion this season.
However, Friday night's crucial Capital League 3 encounter between Ripley Valley and Springfield means so much more.
The senior games at the South Ripley Sports Complex are the first being played at the new venue, coinciding with the NAIDOC round.
Ripley Valley FC head coach Nick Paterson said it was important to honour past traditions as two rapidly developing clubs enjoy their latest challenge.
"For the traditional land owners, it's quite fitting that it's our first game out there too,'' Paterson said.
"Everything that NAIDOC stands for, we as a club want to appreciate culture and communities and everything along those sort of lines.''
Ripley Valley and Springfield will respect Indigenous heritage, with the home team donning special jerseys to mark the occasion.
The Ripley Valley strip has been designed by Ipswich artist and former Bulls premiership-winning captain Corey Eggmolesse, who has also recently created symbolic strips for his football club, the Ipswich Knights and Ipswich Jets.
Like many loyal Ipswich footballers, Paterson has a long association with Eggmolesse and admires the terrific work he does.
"He's done really well. We appreciate that,'' Paterson said.
"It's good to put the jerseys out to show a bit of recognition.''
Friday night's match pits second placed Springfield (32 points) against third-placed Ripley (31). However Ripley has two games in hand chasing competition leaders Logan Metro (34 points).
"Both clubs have got one goal in mind and that's promotion,'' Paterson said of the clash between footballing neighbours Ripley Valley and Springfield.
"A win will go a long way to help secure that.''
Springfield coach Michael Keating shared Paterson's sentiments, looking for "a good, fair game of football and three points'' after losing 4-1 to Rip-ley in the first round clash at Woodcrest College in May.
"We learnt a lot about ourselves in that game,'' Keating said. "I thought we got too involved emotionally after half-time and we struggled to play our game.
"This time round we know a bit more of how our opponents play and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. They're a strong team with some experienced players but we're confident we can get a result.''
Keating said Springfield had injury concerns over Jay Johnson (thigh), Madison Elrick (hamstring), Shamus Crowley and Cameron Kleinhans.
Brian Caulker is available for selection after suspension.
The head coach was pleased with the recent efforts of Nathan Crowley and energy of Giacomo Mellino.
Paterson said he also had some players unavailable due to work but expected a competitive contest with good depth in his squad.
He said opening up the South Ripley fields to senior football was the next positive step in the first-year club's development.
"It's more so for the community,'' he said, having worked with other Ripley officials in getting the club up and running.
He said club players, officials and supporters would no longer have to travel to Logan to watch home games.
Although some facilities are yet to be completed at South Ripley, Paterson was delighted to see senior games now joining the junior matches being played at impressive new sports fields.
"We've been training there for a couple of months now,'' he said.
"There's still a lot of work to do . . . but the fields are top drawer and we can't wait to get playing out of them.''
CL3 local derby: Friday (8.30pm) - Ripley Valley v Springfield at South Ripley Sports Complex.
Reserves to play at 6.30pm.