Goals from everywhere ignite Norths for Hancocks showdown
IT'S nearly impossible to keep the Norths A-Grade men's hockey side quiet - even in a vastly different competitive environment.
After a couple of tight encounters to open the revised Ipswich season, the Devils were back to their old tricks in their latest clash with Easts.
The defending premiers had six different goal scorers in their 7-1 victory, a trademark of Norths when they have their most skilful players on the field and their young guns stepping up.
With a showdown looming against last year's grand final rivals on Sunday night, Norths captain Steven Ihle welcomed a feast of goals against the previously unbeaten Tigers.
"They are a really strong team Hannies so I think they are major threat, so it's always good to come up against them and give them a run for their money,'' he said.
After scoring the opening goal on Sunday night, Ihle was pleased to see his team enjoy a more comfortable victory following earlier battles with Wests (6-5 win) and Hancocks (4-4 draw).
"Everything sort of come together tonight,'' Ihle said.
"We blew a lead against Hannies and got away with a scrappy win against Wests.''
Ihle's goal set the foundation for a convincing win, strengthened when the classy Zac Profke again showed how dangerous he is close to the net.
Profke patiently zigzagged around the defence from a penalty corner to slot in Norths' second goal. It was a skilful variation on his usual lethal strikes.
Profke added a second goal before the ever-reliable Nick Maddocks smashed in number four heading into the break.
After Easts ace Kyle Sippel scored a clever goal just before halftime, Norths added the proverbial icing through goals by Dean Jeffrey, Riley Profke and Jake Thornton.
"It's good when everybody gets on the scorecard,'' Ihle said.
"It's great to have the strength of Zac up on the corners and then the options of Deano and Blake (Douglas) up there as well.''
The experienced Douglas has switched from Hancocks to join the Norths this season.
Ihle said having a shortened four-team competition was ideal to blood younger players.
"I think it's a good season for rebuilding. Giving the younger blokes a run,'' he said.
"We've got about six of them that have come from Reserve Grade into A-Grade.''
Regular additions include Archie Cameron, Riley Profke, Ben Suthers and Zac Ashton-Norton.
Ihle was also happy to see Maddocks back for the rest of the season, being one of Norths most potent strike weapons.
"It feels a bit different, a bit strange but I'm just happy to be back playing,'' he said.
The Norths captain spent the COVID shutdown focusing on his work as manager of Woolworths at Fernvale.
"I've been kept pretty busy,'' he said.
In the other A-Grade men's encounter, Hancocks beat Wests 2-0.
Men's and boys results July 31-August 2
A Grade: Hancock Brothers 2 (James McAlpine, Aston Jackwitz) d Wests 0; Norths 7 (Zac Profke 2, Steven Ihle, Dean Jeffrey, Jake Thornton, Nic Maddocks, Riley Profke) d Easts 1 (Kyle Sippel).
Reserve Grade: Norths 5 (R Profke 3, A Horrocks, A Buckley) d Easts 2 (D Boughen, S Bayliss); Hancock Brothers 4 (R Smith 2, C Banditt, D Howells) d Wests 0.
R2 Grade: Hancock Brothers 1 (A Jackwitz) d Wests 0; Easts Black 1 (A McDonald) d Bellbowrie 0; Norths 4 (B Smith, T Ross, T Wode, B Milburn) d Easts Gold 0.
A2 Grade: Hancock Brothers 3 (J Grant, R Sherlock, J Burns) d Swifts 1 (C Meloury); Easts 1 (T Cook) drew Northern Strikers 1 (T Schostakowski).
D Grade: Northern Strikers 6 (J Donald 6) d Hancock Brothers 5 (S Jackwitz 4, C Fox-White); Easts 1 (L Morris) d Wests 0.
E Grade: Norths 7 (M Doyle 3, K Hill 2, T Campbell, F Bauer) d Easts Gold 1 (J McPherson); Hancock Brothers 6 (A Hanley 3, M Hogan 2, F Evans) d Western Strikers 0.