Players of the year have goal to complete fantastic feat
IT'S a fine accomplishment any time two members from one family win player of the year awards in the same season.
But when those players are sisters and in a grand final squad together, it makes the achievement even more extraordinary.
That's the case for Eleison siblings Layla and Abby.
The rapidly rising Ipswich teenagers are in the Hancock Brothers squad preparing for today's A-grade title decider at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
The St Mary's College students have both made state junior teams in recent months with Layla being chosen for, or training with, Queensland under-18 and under-21 squads.
Layla, who turns 17 on Monday, also represented the Australian Schoolgirls team on a tour to Europe earlier this year.
The icing on the proverbial cake came last week when Layla was named A-grade player of the year at the annual Ipswich Hockey gala awards.
Fittingly, Layla's recognition came the night before Abby collected the junior female player of the year honour on her grand final day.
Abby, who turns 14 next month, is a terrific on-field organiser.
"I'm very proud,'' dad and Hancocks A-grade coach Brendan said.
"They've both had a good year with their representative stuff - Queensland, Ipswich and they've done really well for the club as well. I'm very happy.''
The girls played representative hockey together for the first time in this year's Ipswich under-18 team at the state titles.
"They enjoy training and playing together,'' Brendan said.
He expects Layla to play her usual midfield role in today's grand final with defender Abby on the bench.
As he prepares his team for today's encounter, Brendan appreciated all the help given to his daughters from his extended family and the Hancocks club, especially with fundraising for representative trips.
But there's one more goal to complete a wonderful season for the Eleisons and the minor premiership-winning Hancocks team.
Hancocks are keen to win the grand final after what the coach said was a below-par performance in the recent qualifying final.
Today's opponents Wests won 4-1.
Hancocks had to back up to beat Norths 3-2 in last Sunday night's preliminary final.
"Norths made us work a little bit harder than we thought we had to,'' Eleison said. "That could end up being a real bonus for us, being well prepared for what may get thrown at us on the weekend.''
After disappointing in their previous game against Wests, Eleison had a simple message for his team.
"The biggest thing is making sure you take your opportunities,'' he said.
"The games have been really close except for two weeks ago where they certainly outplayed us. But we were below par in all aspects of the game.''
Eleison was confident of having a full strength side provided everyone avoided illness.
Today's senior grand finals at the Ipswich Hockey Complex, Raceview
- 11am: R2 grade - Vets v Hancock Brothers
- 12.45pm: Reserve grade women - Swifts v Norths
- 2.30pm: Reserve grade men - Hancock Brothers v Norths
- 4.15pm: A grade women - Wests v Hancock Brothers
- 6pm: A grade men: Norths v Hancock Brothers.
The A2 men's and women's grand finals were played last night.