Norths refocus after losing key players
"We're starting again basically''.
That's how Norths A Grade hockey coach Steve Profke is planning to rebuild his team in this year's Ipswich competition.
Having lost a number of experienced or promising players, Profke concedes he has a challenging season ahead.
Among those not playing are long-serving captain Mark Pocock, Will Dalais, Shaun Pratt, Kyle Dolan, Luke Haley and former representative goalkeeper Kyah Andrew-Sharrad.
Pocock missed much of last season after suffering a serious knee injury.
The other Norths regulars have decided not to play for a range of reasons including travel, university commitments and leaving Ipswich.
However, Profke is confident he can bring on the next generation, mainly from the club's Reserve Grade side.
Such players include David Viser, Jake Thornton and Brad Walker, who gained A Grade experience off the bench last season.
Goalkeeper Ben Sawyers, another former representative player, is back to guard the net.
"That's probably the good thing,'' Profke said.
"The last couple of years, because I've had those shortages in patches, I've been able to use all these kids all the time so now I am, luckily, able to bring all of them up at the same time.''
He said every club had been through a similar stage.
A positive for Norths is having Maddocks' brothers Nick and Andrew returning, along with the coach's multi-talented son Zac.
After playing for his state in schoolboys and indoor hockey in recent months, Zac is preparing to represent the Queensland under-18 team at the national titles in Launceston next month.
Around his Brisbane commitments with Pine Rivers-St Andrews, Zac plans to help Norths as much as possible.
Zac will also play alongside his younger brother Riley in Brisbane's J1 competition, keeping the Profke household on the move each weekend.
Steve's wife Jenny will continue to manage the Norths A Grade men as they look to strengthen the club for the future.
Willie Allen is coaching the Norths Reserve Grade men.
Norths players have focused on stick training for two weeks after three weeks of fitness work.