Ipswich-based South West Queensland hockey player Nathan Smith (middle) works hard during last year's Super League championships.
Ipswich-based South West Queensland hockey player Nathan Smith (middle) works hard during last year's Super League championships. Lee Oliver

Rising Ipswich talent faces 'super' test

SOUTH West Queensland coach Adam Spry is sticking with his "give everyone a go'' motto when his men's hockey team contests this weekend's Super League championships.

"I hope they just go out and play their natural game, be willing to make mistakes and back yourself,'' the Ipswich-based mentor said.

With a number of young Ipswich and Toowoomba players stepping up over the long weekend in Brisbane, Spry has challenged them to showcase their talents.

"Just show Queensland hockey what they are capable of and show exactly what they can do and cause some problems,'' he said.

This year's SWQ Lumberjacks team features 10 Ipswich competition regulars and eight players based in Toowoomba.

The side will be led by Ipswich-bred Australian Country captain Chris Mantell, with Toowoomba duo Jarrod Klease and Lachlan Brownhalls voted co-vice captains for the three-day tournament starting Saturday.

In the only change, Ipswich player Trent Davison joins the squad replacing Toowoomba's Craig Smith. He has withdrawn due to work and university commitments.

Although some players make themselves available for the State Open titles rather than the Super League tournament, Spry is excited about the opportunity for hockey's next generation.

"It's a fairly young group with a couple of experienced guys in there,'' he said.

Having held six training sessions in Ipswich and Toowoomba, Spry is confident the up and coming players will thrive.

"It's natural attrition I suppose,'' he said of having less senior players available. "But we'll give the young guys a go and see what they are capable of.''

A number of the players regularly combine in Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane competitions so know each other's style.

Spry is coaching the South West Queensland men's side having worked with the zone women's team last season.

Ipswich and Toowoomba women's players will also be involved with this year's South West Queensland Lumberjills, also playing over the long weekend.

The men's and women's players have added motivation to perform with Queensland Country and Queensland under-21 teams being chosen.

The better players can also attract the eye of selectors working with Queensland Blades and Queensland Scorchers teams preparing for the Australian Hockey League championships in Perth in September.

For Spry, the men's tournament gives his South West Queensland players a chance to test their progress against other leading zone representatives from around the state.

"I think it has merit,'' he said of the Super League tournament.

"It's a good concept. It's good quality hockey. It will be interesting to see how we go.

The latest championships start on Saturday with the finals on Monday afternoon at the State Hockey Centre.

The Lumberjacks' first game is against Brisbane at 1.30pm on Saturday. The Lumberjills also face Brisbane in their opening game at 3pm.

As in past years, South West teams will play a round robin format against other zone sides from Brisbane, Northern, Central, Fraser Coast/Wide Bay and South Coast. 

Former Australian Country player Sara Rogers is coaching the Wide Bay Thunder as she continues her recovery from a knee reconstruction.

Another Ipswich player, teenager Abby Eleison has been drafted to play with Brisbane Blitz.

"It's exciting to see Abby get the opportunity to play Super League,'' said Ipswich regional coaching director Sam Spry, who is managing the men's team with husband Adam.

"She has been training really well and I believe that she will play well throughout Super League.

"It's an excellent opportunity and one that will help Abby grow as a player and provide good preparation heading into under 18's representative training.''

Game day

The sixth annual Super League championships are on this weekend at the State Hockey Centre at Colmslie (Lytton Road) in Brisbane.

Matches are being played from 11am-9.30pm on Saturday and Sunday and from 9am-6.30pm on Monday. Entry is free.

SW Queensland Lumberjacks team: Cade Banditt (Ipswich), Joshua Bidgood (Toowoomba), Jarrod Brown (Ipswich), Lachlan Brownhalls (Toowoomba), Campbell Coghlan (Toowoomba), Kai Douglas (Ipswich), Trent Davison (Ipswich), Matthew Finn (Toowoomba), Brent Garske (Toowoomba), Karl Harland (Toowoomba), Jared Klease (Toowoomba), Chris Mantell (Ipswich), Sam Morgan (Ipswich), Aaron O'Beirne (Ipswich), Jay Mogg (Toowoomba), Ryan Smith (Ipswich), Nathan Smith (Ipswich), Tyler Spry (Ipswich). Coach: Adam Spry. Manager: Sam Spry.

SW Qld men's draw: Saturday - 1.30pm v Brisbane Fury. 5.15pm v Central Mudturtles. Sunday: Noon v South Coast Sharks. 8.15pm v Wide Bay Thunder. Monday: 1pm v Northern Storm.

SW Queensland Lumberjills team: Talicia Canty (Ipswich), Ainsley Clanchy (Toowoomba), Natalie Davison (Ipswich), Layla Eleison (Ipswich), Jade Emblem (Toowoomba), Holly Gilbar (Toowoomba), Aimee Griffiths (Toowoomba), Shahna Hamment (Ipswich), Casey Haumaha (Toowoomba), Elise Matherson (Toowoomba), Amber Mutch (Toowoomba), Sarah Parlett (Ipswich), Amanda Ross (Toowoomba), Madeleine Stower (Toowoomba), Kacie Trost (Toowoomba), Mikaela Truskinger (Toowoomba), Jessica Wilkinson (Ipswich), Katie Wollstein (Toowoomba). Coach: Terry Khan. Manager: Carolyn Bool.

SW Qld women's draw: Saturday - 3pm v Brisbane Blitz. 8.15pm v Central Mudturtles. Sunday: 1.30pm v South Coast Sharks. 5.15pm v Wide Bay Thunder. Monday: 11.30am v Northern Storm.