Norths lethal warning: Firepower to get even better
AFTER the Norths juggernaut clicked up a gear and rolled to another huge victory, the warning was clear.
The Norths Devils will only get better in this year's Ipswich A-Grade hockey competition.
Sunday night's 7-1 victory over Easts came after the Devils surrendered the first goal.
"We probably needed a goal against us to start with just to wake up,'' coach Steve Profke said.
With only four training sessions under their belt, last year's grand final runners-up displayed plenty of firepower with Profke's sons Zac (four) and Riley (two) dominating the goal fest.
However, the other teams are already on notice.
"It was probably the worst pre-season we've had in a long time,'' Profke said.
With the latest victory in the bag, the coach was already aiming higher after watching his team rely on penalty corners to do the most damage.
"We've got a lot of improvement, just sharpness,'' Profke said.
"We're slow to get to everything, a slow turnaround.
"And we need to stop that (relying on penalty corners) and start working on field goals.''
The Norths team that took charge in the second quarter was similar to the one that contested last year's grand final against Hancocks.
Defending champions Hancocks beat Wests 3-2 in Friday night's opening A-Grade match of the new season.
For Norths, Brisbane-based Cale O'Beirn is the only major addition to this year's line-up.
Trent Goldstein, another Pine Rivers St Andrews Brisbane competition teammate of the Profke brothers, is also set to return this year.
A feature of the Norths side in recent seasons has been the impressive development of young players like Archie Cameron, Regan Baxter and Ben Suthers. That was on show in Sunday night's win.
"They are playing really well,'' the coach said.
"It's good to be able to rely on them and know they can come here and they can click on the field and they can just do what we ask them to do. That's been good.
"It's good to have Riley and Zac both starting now.
"Riley is not Reserve Grade anymore and Archie is not really Reserve Grade anymore so we'll have an A-Grade 12 now.''
However, it's the Norths senior brigade built around captain Steven Ihle, Dean Jeffrey, Blake Douglas and Luke Brown that continues to provide stability and leadership.
"Even though Zac is probably one of the younger ones (aged 19) he's still been there a long time,'' the coach said.
"We've got a pretty good leadership group of probably five I guess.''
Captain Ihle remains a capable leader.
"He just goes out and does his job,'' Profke said.
Profke was originally planning to coach the Norths A-Grade women's side this season before a lack of numbers forced the club to withdraw and focus on a Reserve Grade rebuild.
However, the successful coach was back in familiar territory after deciding to continue his positive development work from the past few seasons.
"It's pretty much the same,'' Profke said.
"We were trying to do the same thing (junior development) with the women but back from COVID, there's a lot of people not playing.
"We'll just start to build again and see what happens next year.''
STATE OF PLAY
Ipswich Hockey Association Inc
Men's and boys results March 12-14
A Grade: Hancock Brothers 3 (Hayden Michel, James Mcalpine, Kai Douglas) d Wests 2 (Zac McCoombes, Andrew Horrocks); Norths 7 (Zac Profke 4, Riley Profke 2, Kyle Jackson) d Easts 1 (Max Schulz).
Reserve Grade: Wests 4 (C Parmenter 2, C Jaenke, A Horrocks) d Hancock Brothers 0; Easts 3 (T Woodford 3) d Norths 1 (J Petersen).
R2 Grade: Easts Gold 1 (A Hansen) drew Norths 1 (T Ross); Bellbowrie 3 (J Donald 2, T Harris) d Easts Black (1 (D Bell); Hancock Brothers 9 (R Smith 3, B Kinnane, K Smith, J Burns, P Dawson, N Smith, L McQueen) d Wests 2 (S Brown, L Alchin).
A2 Grade: Hancock Brothers 4 (B Kinnane, G Harkins, W Follet, P Jackwitz) d Swifts 3 (C Meloury 3); Wests 4 (P Smith 2, N Smith 2) d Easts 0.
J1 Grade: Bellbowrie 5 (J Donald 3, A Van Zyl, J Kelly) d Easts 0 (L Morris); Hancock Brothers 15 (C Fox-White 5, S Jackwitz 4, W McCormick 3, C West, J Adams, M Hogan) d Wests Black 2 (A Smith); Norths 3 (M Doyle 2, J Cox) drew Wests White 3 (H McInnes, C McInnes, C Simpson).
J2 Grade: Norths 8 (K Hill 6, J Cox 2) d Easts Gold 0; Hancock Brothers 9 (M Hogan 3, A Hanley 3, R Conway, F Evans, L Dawson) d Wests 0.