The Norths A-Grade hockey team. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography
The Norths A-Grade hockey team. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography

Must watch final: Cliffhanger finish expected

IN three classic A-Grade encounters this season, defending premiers Norths lost to Hancocks twice in the last 15 seconds.

Such is the history between the Ipswich hockey club rivals that cliffhanger results are regularly assured.

However, while Hancocks have won most of the games in recent seasons, Norths have a reputation for producing the big game when it counts.

That's exactly what happened this time last year when the Devils triumphed after Hancocks had won all the earlier silverware.

For former Norths premiership-winning player and coach Steve Profke, that's the enjoyment grand finals bring.

Although this season has been played under a revised format, Profke said Saturday night's grand final showdown is no less important.

"You never know what's going to happen,'' Profke said.

That is a certainty with Hancocks winning a series of recent premierships before Norths regained the ascendancy last year.

"It was always tight with us and Hancocks and Wests all year,'' he said.

While chasing victory remains a priority, Profke has another reason to finish the season on a high.

He has watched some promising Norths juniors rise up through the ranks this year to provide an impressive foundation for more premiership success.

"It's been awesome for us just pumping the young blokes through,'' he said.

Profke said one of the most satisfying game this season was recently against Easts.

With seven regular Reserve Graders away on Met West school duty, another crop stepped up to help Reserve and A-Grade.

They included striker Brad Smith who came from R2 to score two goals in the top grade encounter.

"That was a big highlight,'' Profke said.

Norths A-Grade sharpshooter Zac Profke. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography
Norths A-Grade sharpshooter Zac Profke. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography

As usual, grand final weekend is a family affair for the Profkes.

Wife Jenny is manager of the A-Grade team which includes children Zac and Riley.

Steve and Jenny's daughter Bella is also playing in Saturday morning's E-Grade grand final for Norths.

Steve plays in his R2 final against Easts Black at 12.30pm on Sunday before coaching the Northern Strikers Reserve Grade women in their title decider against Swifts at 2pm.

He is on the bench for the Reserve Grade men's final which follows at 3.45pm.