Flying high for Ipswich

The Ipswich Flyers netball team has been dominating the courts under new coach Nicole Grant, with only one loss in this year’s Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup.

After a strong start to the season, including a huge 70-point win over Cornubia Park, Grant says she’s not worried about the team’s only loss to reigning champions Goodna.

“It was always going to be a physical match. The girls played really well and were very disciplined,” Ms Grant said.

“Our goal is to take every game one at a time and to qualify for finals.”

Grant took on the coaching role in February, stepping away from the court and on to the sidelines, after years of playing representative netball for the Brisbane West Lions (now known as the Jets), which represent the Ipswich, West Brisbane and Goodna regions.

“I took some time off ​after I did my ACL. I then had my two daughters,” Ms Grant said.

“When I came back I had one season with the Flyers. After this, I felt like my playing was done, but I still had more to give.” 

Coaching seemed like the logical next step, and it’s something Nicole loves. ​

There’s so much more to it than just putting players on court.

“You’re mentoring, you’re counselling at times, you’ve ​got players with ten individual sets of needs, so what might work for one might not work for the other.

Soaring ahead: The Ipswich Flyers have had a promising start in this season’s Premier League SEQ Cup.

“But I really enjoy all of that – Helping the ten individuals come together as a team is challenging, but it’s so rewarding.”

Nicole encourages her team to try to broaden their perspective by inviting different coaches to help out. 

“I enjoy inviting different people to our training sessions. I think the more the players are exposed to, the more they can learn and keep improving their game,” she said. 

Grant works for Ipswich City Council as an Education Officer, working on projects like Sustainable Ipswich week, RSPCA’s Million Paws walk, Clean up Australia Day and Educators’ Link.

Two of her colleagues at Council are also part of the Flyers’ family. Mel de Kleyn is the team’s manager, while Vada Hoger is assistant coach.

Ms Hoger says they’re a strong team.

“Mel and Nicole are in the same team at Council, and I worked with Nicole on Sustainable Ipswich week, so we know we all work well together,” Ms Hoger said.

“I think it’s great to take a work relationship and build on that to do something positive within the community.”

The Ipswich Flyers are currently sitting in second place of Pool A in the Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup.

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