It’s been a long hot summer of sweat and hard work to get ready for the footy season ahead. An off-season examination and overhaul, strict nutrition program, daily work on the fundamentals… and that’s just the field
While Ipswich Jets players have been preparing for their Intrust Super Cup first round clash against Townsville Blackhawks, Ipswich City Council has also been putting in the hard yards to bring North Ipswich Reserve up to its peak condition.
Adding to the usual Round 1 pressure is the fact this match is also a high-profile Defence Force Appreciation Day and will be televised on Channel 9 – an important chance for both the Jets and North Ipswich Reserve to show their strength to the competition.
Stepping onto the Oz Tuff couch grass right now is like walking on thick soft carpet. For Jets teammates Julian Christian and Marmin Barba (pictured below) there’s no doubt – North Ipswich Reserve is the best playing surface in the whole competition.
Council’s Supervisor in charge of North Ipswich Reserve, Troy Linke, said the fundamentals were the same as lawn care at home – just on a much bigger scale.
Last year a double scarification removed the old dead growth and promoted new growth, with a few top dresses to level the field. Aeration also helped reverse the compaction that comes with a full season of footy.
A stringent nutrition program includes granular fertiliser every three months, liquid fertiliser in between for quick absorption, and extra organic and seaweed-based products. Potassium and other liquids have also been added for root strength.
Over winter the field will be oversown with rye grass to boost the colour and protect the couch.
Plus, there’s mowing twice a week and irrigation at least three times a week to keep the grass in immaculate condition.
Mr Linke said the big challenge to this year’s preparation was the hot and dry weather.
“This time of year is crucial because we are getting near the end of the growing period,” he said.
“This is the optimum time that we need to build the strength in the field, so it’s going to get through a long winter and a football season.”
This week will see the final preparations, such as line marking and logos, to make sure North Ipswich Reserve is picture-perfect for the televised match.
Among the eyes watching in anticipation on March 10 will be Council staff involved in maintaining the field.
“It wouldn’t look as good as that if it wasn’t for the crews looking after it,” Mr Linke said.
“They all take pride in it.”
QRL Intrust Super Cup competition Round 1 at North Ipswich Reserve on Sunday March 10.
It will also be the annual Defence Force Appreciation Day, with family entertainment, defence displays and more.
See the mighty Ipswich Jets take on the Townsville Blackhawks in the Intrust Super Cup. Also featuring U18 Mal Meninga Cup and U20 Hastings Deerings Colts.
Gates open 10am, main game 12.10pm.
Cost: Adults $10, Concession $5, children aged under 15 free (payment is at the gate).
All military and Air Force personnel are invited to attend this game for free.