E-Grade players from Swifts and Bellbowrie work on their skills during the latest round of matches at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Look out for more photos in Wednesday's Junior Sport section.
E-Grade players from Swifts and Bellbowrie work on their skills during the latest round of matches at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Look out for more photos in Wednesday's Junior Sport section. Rob Williams

Amy's five of the best inspires others

STILL able to score five goals in an A-Grade match is a valuable lesson any teacher can give her students.

It shows the importance of knowing when to pick up the tempo, when to make a decisive run at goal and when to set up a teammate.

Having played 51 times for Australia, Wests striker Amy Kickbusch (nee Korner) possesses experience, precision and shooting prowess that is always a thrill to watch at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.

Her latest goal flurry came in Wests' 7-2 A-Grade win over the youthful Norths combination.

"It hasn't happened for a while,'' Kickbush said, with a modest laugh.

However, more important for the Ipswich Central State School teacher at this stage of her career is helping young people.

She welcomed newcomers like Sarah Donnelly to Wests while working with young guns like Gabby Nicholls, Talicia Canty and Kelsey Fraser.

"I'm really excited about the new people in the team,'' said Kickbusch, who turns 33 this month.

In recent seasons, she's given back to the Ipswich competition by regularly playing A-Grade and guiding the next generation of young players to grand final glory. She also enjoys coaching the hockey kids at Ipswich Central State School.

On Saturday night, she rated her fifth goal the most pleasing, coming from an acute angle slammed into the net.

"They were really fun but you don't score them without the team build-up so I feel bad if I don't finish off what the rest of the team has worked towards,'' she said.

 

Wests hockey player Amy Kickbusch scored six goals in her team's 9-1 victory over Swifts.
Wests striking ace Amy Kickbusch. Carl Groenewald

Kickbusch had Wests 2-0 up early before tapping in her third goal in the second quarter to add another hat-trick to the long line of career milestones.

After Canty scored Wests' fourth goal, Kickbusch slammed in her fourth and fifth for the night.

"We're looking good,'' Kickbusch said, reflecting on the early progress of the defending champions.

"But the first two games against Swifts and Hancocks were pretty close and tight so they're going to be like that all year.''

In a dangerous sign for other sides, Kickbusch had a quiet off-season and expects to get sharper.

"I'm feeling a little bit unfit myself,'' she said. "As it goes on, I'll get better.

"I like to kind of do nothing from the grand final to the start of the year. Just focus on walking my dogs.

"I try and have a nice break from hockey and then I really get excited to play again.''

She especially enjoys playing with long-time Wests teammate Amy Nicholls (nee Chalk) and being part of "a really nice group''.

Coaching Norths' A-Grade for the first time, mother-to-be Sarah Parlett was pleased with her young team's effort against the accomplished defending Ipswich champions.

The developing Norths' side is being captained by experienced player Anita Davey, with Jess Fox as vice-captain.

Former captain Parlett praised Fox for improving her fitness and for "playing really good hockey''.

"They (Davey and Fox) are really stepping up and doing a good job and leading the team,'' the coach said.

With so many new faces in the side, long-time A-Grade and representative player Parlett was thrilled how Norths showed early improvement against Wests.

"I think they just put them under a lot of pressure . . . pressure they weren't able to put them under last season,'' she said.

"Being able to get in the circle and I think we had about eight corners. Various times last year we didn't even get it over the attacking 25.''

Wests' goal-scoring ace Kickbusch agreed.

"They (Norths) are always tough and they always give 100 percent for the whole game so you can't drop off,'' she said.

"As you can see, they put two on us and that could have been more so they're going to be strong contenders as well this year.''

In the other A-Grade women's match at the weekend, Hancock Brothers accounted for Swifts 5-2.

In the men's competition, defending champions Hancocks outclassed the youthful Easts combination 12-0 after Norths beat Wests 4-0.