Strike force: Hancocks threats step up when pressure is on
AUSTRALIAN Country representative Jackson Willie highlighted Hancocks' relentless firepower when his speed-laden hockey team was under pressure in the A-Grade qualifying final.
His approach was just step up and score the winning goal.
That's what Willie did on Sunday night when main rivals Norths had reduced the deficit to 4-3 with eight minutes to go and were looking to mount a determined final quarter challenge.
However, Willie calmly secured possession in the closing stages before zigzagging around Norths goalkeeper Cian McLaughlin to score.
Hancocks' 5-3 win on Sunday night earnt the defending premiers another shot at grand final glory.
For regular goal scorer Willie, it was exactly what the team planned for.
"We talk about it at training,'' he said, chosen to represent the Australian Country side in Tokyo and China next year.
"Just stick to the processes and the outcome will come.
"We normally struggle in the fourth quarter but it was good to get that goal and get two goals ahead again.''
In his second season with Hancocks, the former Rockhampton player said it was important Hancocks won the qualifying final as some players would have been unavailable for this weekend's preliminary playoff.
However, he's thriving in the Hancocks' environment after last year being invited to join the team by the Smith brothers.
"It's a good culture with Hannies,'' he said. "A good group of lads, a bit of fun, a few mates.''
After Sunday night's win, Willie praised teammate Kai Douglas for declaring a penalty corner strike hit his foot guarding the net.
His honesty gave Norths a stroke early in the game that Norths' goal-scoring ace Zac Profke converted.
"There was good sportsmanship throughout the game,'' Willie said.
However, defending premiers Hancocks remain focused on their final goal being minor premiers and mid-season final victors.
"We just have got to finish it,'' Willie said.
"We've got two of the three trophies. We just need to get that third one now.''
Willie, 22, is also a regular with Kedron Wavell in the Brisbane competition. However, with Kedron out of the finals, he can concentrate on helping Hancocks chase another Ipswich title.
He's scored a couple of hat-tricks this season, rating the mid-season Combined Competition final victory over Toowoomba opponents Red Lion as one of the most satisfying.
However, Sunday night's clash with Norths continued the high quality battle between the Ipswich sides.
Either team could have scored at any time, setting up another classic grand final should Norths beat Wests in this weekend's preliminary final.
State of play
A Grade Qualifying final: Hancock Brothers 5 (Carter Chappell 2, Jackson Willie 2, Ryan Smith) d Norths 3 (Zac Profke 2, Dean Jeffrey).
Elimination final: Wests 7 (Trent Davison 2, Tony Dakin 2, Stephen Rogers 2, Thomas Picton) d Easts 2 (Adrian Cross, Steven Bayliss).
Preliminary final: Sunday (6.45pm) - Norths v Wests.