Hancocks mateship provides extra lift in title triumph
WITH his shirt off and a tight grip on premiership trophy, Hancock Brothers captain Nathan Smith was ready to party.
After leading his side to another Ipswich A Grade hockey premiership, the player of the final had every reason to celebrate.
Hancocks denied the fairytale finish Wests so richly craved having won their only A Grade men's premiership 28 years ago.
But Hancocks were in a similar premiership slump in 2015 before breaking the ice that year and adding Saturday night's success.
Hancocks' 6-4 victory over Wests gave the proud Ipswich club plenty to enjoy after Wests won the earlier A Grade women's and men's Reserve Grade grand finals.
"It's good to come away with the win, especially as we were under the pump in the first half,'' Smith said.
"It was such a good effort by all of us. We played our hearts out in the second half.
"We got a few goals up, we let them back in but we stuck to it.''
As for winning the player of the final award, Smith said that was bonus in a team where players like Adam McClelland and Nathan's brother Ryan were also inspiring the side.
"I feel like I'm playing where I just run as fast and hard as I can,'' Smith, 21, said.
"Macca has been toiling all year for us. Ryan's been toiling up front, scoring goals, just putting it away.
"Just legendary really.''
After also sharing in Hancocks' 2015 victory that ended a 28 year drought, Smith said the rewards were coming.
"We're all best mates,'' he said. "A lot of people have put a lot of effort in the last couple of years.
"We love Ipswich, especially this day.''
A Grade grand final: Hancocks 6 (Adam McClelland 3, Nathan Smith 2, Hayden Michel) def Wests 4 (Greg Walker 2, Todd Watson 2).