Magpies back on attack with Sunday showdown looming
BEWARE the wounded Magpie.
Sunday's major A-Grade women's semi-final between defending premiers Wests and major threats Hancocks should provide plenty of high quality hockey and some added spice.
Wests were denied their shot at an unbeaten season after losing 3-2 to Hancocks in their recent Ipswich competition clash.
However, as the Magpies always do, they responded in kind by outclassing Norths 10-1 in their final hitout before this weekend's playoffs.
Wests co-captain Eden Jackat was pleased how the Magpies regained their rhythm against Norths, improving their mental approach and trademark work ethic.
"We were pretty disappointed with our performance (against Hancocks),'' Jackat said of losing so close to the finals.
"We've had such a strong season.
"We were all hoping for an undefeated season. That was a goal of ours but Hancocks outplayed us and that's really what happened.
"We might have lapsed a little bit mentally but the loss will probably be a blessing in disguise.''
The winner of Sunday night's showdown at Raceview advances directly to the grand final.
The loser plays the winner of the Saturday night elimination final between third-placed Swifts and fourth-placed Norths.
Hancocks prepared for the major semi-final with a 5-2 win over Swifts.
Jackat knows motivation won't be an issue with Hancocks still a genuine threat.
"We had a good team effort against Norths . . . this week we will definitely switch on,'' Jackat said.
Experienced defender Amy Nicholls will return for the major semi-final after missing the recent Hancocks game through illness and playing against Norths.
Leading goalscorer and co-captain Amy Kickbusch also recovered well from a nasty knock the previous week to add more four goals to her tally.
"I love finals but anything can happen in finals so we have to be ready to play,'' Jackat said.
In the Ipswich men's A-Grade competition, defending premiers Hancocks fine-tuned for Sunday afternoon's major semi-final against Norths by overrunning Easts 10-1.
Norths showed they are still a strong challenger by beating Wests 5-3.
Third-placed Wests face fourth-placed Easts in Saturday afternoon's elimination final at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
Junior qualifying and elimination finals were also played at Raceview over the weekend.
Norths, Easts and Wests all had teams advance directly to C, D or E-Grade grand finals on September 7.
Junior preliminary finals are being contested this weekend.
Look out for photos from the latest junior finals in Wednesday's QT.