Ian Polglase fell in love with the Morningside Football Club as a nine-year-old in 1956 and for more than 60 years has remained wonderfully loyal and totally dedicated. A player, coach, committeeman, President and QAFL delegate turned innovator and visionary – he is what community football is all about.
Having moved with his family from Melbourne aged nine months, he was introduced to football at Camp Hill State School and played through the grades at Morningside, from Under 11s and Under 13s through the Under 15s, Under 17s, Colts, Reserves and Seniors.
Described as “an under-sized but very competitive rover/wingman/back pocket”, he played “about 50” senior games for the Panthers, coached in the juniors as a teenager from 1963 and progressed through the Colts and Reserves. After hanging up the boots, he joined the Morningside committee in 1978, was President through the club’s rebirth as a legitimate force through the 1980s and was the Panthers’ delegate on the QAFL Board of Directors from 1981-86.
In 1983 he launched the Super Rules program, which has been a staple in Queensland football ever since, and in 1994, after QAFL clubs moved away from the traditional committee structure to a Board of Directors, he served as Morningside Vice-President and Director of Football under the influential Barry Kelly for 10 years.
He coached the Colts from 1991-94, with the great Michael Voss and his Lions triple premiership teammate Mal Michael Lions among his proteges, before moving up to the Reserves from 1995-97 and serving as Assistant Coach of the Reserves from 2014-17, sharing in two flags.
Proud to be one of six three-generation families at Morningside alongside familiar names as Jeffrey, Hunter, Longland, Moncur and Francis, the man known universally as ‘Polly’ helped pioneer another key strategic initiative at Esplen Oval in 2012. He worked with club great Nick Tomlinson to set up ‘Siders for Life’, a welfare program designed to provide off-field education and direction to players of all ages. More than a decade on he is still ‘master in charge’.
Along the way, he was a member of the ‘Bears for Brisbane’ committee, hosting meetings of a group of influential football people pushing hard in the early years for the AFL club to relocate from Carrara to Brisbane, and for 56 years worked in the Queensland operation of a Melbourne-based haberdashery business, eventually retiring as State Manager in 2017.
In retirement he turned back the clock to secure a degree in psychology from QUT at Carseldine, adding further depth to the guidance he offers a club which, most importantly he says, has always been true to itself.
“You always want to play at the highest level possible, but first and foremost we are a community club. We were never going to be financial enough to compete with the likes of Southport in the NEAFL and the VFL, but we take great pride in being what we are and doing it as best we can,” he said.
Rightly so, given a list of 25 AFL players who played at Morningside before joining the ‘big time’: Barry Denny, Warren Jones, Tony Smith, Rick Norman, Stephen Lawrence, Tony Lynn, Michael Voss, Brett Voss, Mal Michael, Steve Kenna, Scott Harding, Courtenay Dempsey, Tom Williams, David Armitage, Gavin Urquhart, Scott Clouston, John Williams, Tom Hickey, Peter Yagmoor, Lee Spurr, Tom Bell, Jordon Bourke, Ben Keays, Matthew Hammelmann, and Keidean Coleman.