Call to keep Ipswich team together for another ‘red-hot’ go
IPSWICH coach Hugh Hocking is hoping to keep his youth-laden side together to progress even further after a successful Queensland hockey championships.
The Ipswich women fought hard all the way before finally going down 2-1 to Toowoomba in today's playoff for third.
The scores were deadlocked at 1-1 at three-quarter time before the home side secured victory in the final stages.
After a fourth-place finish in the nerve-racking final, Hocking praised his group of players for their commitment over the three days of competition.
"We played phenomenally,'' Hocking said.
"I can't thank the girls enough for the effort they put in, how hard they worked.
"They just couldn't get over the line in the end. They did brilliantly as far as I'm concerned.''
Among the rising players he is eager to keep working with before next year's championships are goalkeeper Victoria Heffernan, Caleisha Harper, Georgia Stenzel and Adriana Silcock.
"Victoria absolutely killed it. She had a phenomenal tournament,'' Hocking said.
"She played out of her skin the entire weekend.''
Ever dependable striker Gabby Nicholls was the team's leading goal scorer with four. She netted Ipswich's field goal in the final.
The young players were guided by more seasoned campaigners like captain Sara Rogers, vice-captain Eden Jackat, Jess Wilkinson and Eleison sisters Layla and Abby.
"We've got some absolute guns in this team,'' he said.
"I hope everyone comes back next year and we'll give it another red-hot go.''
The Ipswich men's side finished in eighth place after today's 4-2 loss to Toowoomba 2.
Head coach Steve Profke said the tournament provided valuable experience for his team, especially the younger players like consistent performer Ben Peters moving up into the higher level competition.
"We didn't have a lot of luck this weekend but it's a new team, new players together,'' Profke said.
A disrupted preparation didn't help in the lead-up to the state titles.
However, he rated his team's effort against Brisbane on Saturday an example of what Ipswich was capable of.
Ipswich came from 6-1 down, scoring three unanswered goals before Brisbane secured victory 7-4.
"That was definitely our best game,'' Profke said.
"We just needed to make sure that we put on a good show.''