FIRED UP: Easts' C-Grade Player of the Final Tremaine Pittman shows his delight at scoring a goal in his team's 7-3 win in Saturday's grand final.
FIRED UP: Easts' C-Grade Player of the Final Tremaine Pittman shows his delight at scoring a goal in his team's 7-3 win in Saturday's grand final. Cordell Richardson

Roaring success: How juniors are reviving the proud Tigers

WHEN former A-Grade player Paul Malcolm retired after sharing in past Easts' premiership dynasties, he dreamt the club would one day be back on top in Ipswich hockey.

That vision is becoming a reality.

The loyal Easts clubman was as proud as anyone at the Ipswich Hockey Complex over the weekend as he watched Tigers' teams clinch four of the six junior grand finals.

Full of praise for Easts' keen to learn young players and dedicated coaches, Malcolm said it was his goal to help turn the club around after some years in the doldrums.

"When I first took over as president, we lost our A-Grade team in the first year I came,'' Malcolm said.

"I've tried to build the juniors up because I saw we had no juniors.

"The whole reason behind me retiring was just to start building the ranks.''

Four years later after Saturday's wonderful club performance, he was confident the recovery was well on the way.

The pathway to revitalising Easts' senior teams was highlighted having five Easts' teams playing in the latest junior grand finals.

The club's C-Grade boys secured the fourth title of the day beating Norths 7-3.

That impressive effort came after the club's D-Grade boys overran Norths/Bellbowrie 11-0 in the biggest win on Saturday.

 

C grade mens hockey final between Norths and Easts.
Easts' C-Grade player Riley Anderson chases Norths goal scorer Stefano Spall in Saturday's grand final at Raceview. Cordell Richardson

Easts opened the day with extra-time grand final victories in the E-Grade boys and E-Grade girls deciders.

Easts Gold finally beat Easts Black 1-0 in the boys battle before the Easts' girls also needed additional play to overcome Norths 1-0.

The Easts' E-grade girls were named team of the year being undefeated minor premiers and mid-season winners.

The girls scored 101 goals throughout the season, only conceding two.

That was a remarkable way to finish the season after the team was winless in 2016.

 

C grade mens hockey final between Norths and Easts.
Easts' C-Grade player Lachlan Savage celebrates a goal. Cordell Richardson

Malcolm was upbeat about other club sides on the rise after a decade of top level drought. Easts had previously dominated the senior competition for a number of years.

"We're looking good to under-13 girls and under-11s next year plus our ladies that we've never had before,'' Malcolm said.

"R2 ladies made the finals. The Reserve Grade ladies are in the grand final (this week-end). Reserve Grade men are in the final.

"As president, I took over this club knowing that I have got a job to do.

"It's not quite finished . . . but from my point of view, I'm a very, very happy man.''

 

D-Grade boys grand final between Easts and Norths/Bellbowrie.
Easts' D-Grade player Tom Savage throws himself in his work during the grand final. Easts beat Norths/Bellbowrie 11-0. Cordell Richardson

Malcolm was part of Easts' A-Grade sides that won premierships from 1990-93 and 2008-11.

He also shared in Easts' Reserve Grade domination from 2004-2010.

This year's Easts A-Grade side missed the finals, despite bringing on young players as part of the rebuilding program.

Malcolm said he would remain president until "I can make these young kids come through to be our A-Grade guys and win a premiership with that A-Grade side''.

He praised coaches like Josh Jones, Kyle Sippel, Leanne Savage and Jay Currie for their efforts.

"In going forward, you need to put high level, high performance coaches in every young age so the kids are learning high quality hockey and how to play hockey from a young age.''

C-Grade players like Daimon Bell and George Evans progressed to A-Grade this year.

"At 14, 15 years old, that's exactly where we want to be in the future,'' he said.

Look out for more great junior hockey finals stories online this week.

Honour board

Junior players of the year: Hayley Petersen and Riley Profke. Runners-up: Hannah Petersen and Archie Cameron.

C-Grade boys grand final: Easts 7 (Lachlan Savage 2, Daimon Bell 2, Lachlan Gough, Nicholas Kerr, Tremaine Pittman) def Norths 3 (Riley Profke 2, Stefano Spall).

Players of final: Tremaine Pittman (Easts), Jonathan Heron (Norths).

C-Grade girls grand final: Wests 3 (Ashlee Goetsch, Sophie Kissane, Chloe Daley) def Thistles 2 (Kaja Roberts, Bella Forde).

Players of final: Sophie Kissane (Wests), Bella Forde (Thistles).

D-Grade boys grand final: Easts 11 (Lachlan McDermott-Parkes 3, Aidan Hansen 3, Harrison Memory, Martin Batten, Jack White, Luke Morris, Sam Morris) def Norths/Bellbowrie 0.

Players of final: Thomas Savage (Easts), Matthew Bell (Norths/Bellbowrie).

D-Grade girls grand final: Wests 2 (Abby Wells, Charlie Emblem) def Norths 1 (Dakota Wenzel-Stephen).

Players of final: Amity Jackson (Wests), Lucy Pickering (Norths).

E-Grade boys grand final: Easts Gold 1 (Luke Morris) def Easts Black 0 in the third minute of extra-time.

Players of final: Matthew Young (Easts Gold), Joshua McPherson (Easts Black).

E-Grade girls grand final: Easts 1 (Jamie Hansen) def Norths 0 in the fifth minute of extra-time.

Players of final: Grace Batten (Easts), Kaylee Baldwin (Norths).

Junior Umpires of the Year: Zachary Eleison, Hannah Petersen. Runners-up: Jonathan Herron, Kiana McPeake.

Rod Parkinson Encouragement Award: Amity Jackson.

Peter Hunter Encouragement Award: Aston Jackwitz.