Striking hat-trick: Zac dodges water pools to display skills
TOMAHAWK whiz Zac Profke showed why he's in the Queensland under-18 squad by scoring a stunning hat-trick in his team's latest A Grade hockey encounter.
Despite the challenging conditions on a rain-affected hockey surface, the Ipswich teenager delivered three superb strikes to put Norths ahead 3-2 before Hancock Brothers responded to draw 4-4.
With water pooling on the field after heavy rain at Raceview, the match was unable to be started until the 13th minute.
When it did, Profke used his youthful enthusiasm to advantage, showcasing his impressive towahawk (reverse stick shooting) ability.
"I thought we needed to control the ball and really just focus on getting the ball in the net,'' Profke said.
"It was crazy (with so much water on the field at the start of the game).
"I work on them (tomahawks) whenever I get a chance. I just hit the ball in the net from different angles.''
The skilful sharpshooter kept asking for his hockey stick to be dried. At one stage he even replaced his stick. "It was very slippery,'' he said.
But Profke was delighted with his third hat-trick of the season in his second year playing A Grade.
Jake Thornton scored Norths' fourth goal before the Hancocks' fightback.
"We would have been happy with a win but a draw was good for us,'' Profke said, reflecting on Norths' recent inconsistent results.
Profke, who turns 16 next month, was recently named in the Queensland under-18 squad. He'll contest trials in February to see if he can secure his place in the final team for next year's national championships.
Profke was also one of Ipswich's leading players at the Queensland Secondary School championships in Townsville where Met West won the state title.
In Saturday night's entertaining A Grade encounter, the teenage talent weaved between the water puddles to provide valuable finishing firepower.
However, it was a seasoned Reserve grader and A Grade newcomer who secured the Hancocks' draw.
Daniel Howells netted Hancocks' first and decisive fourth goals.
Playing his first full season of A Grade, Howells modestly accepted his first double. "That's only three (goals) for the season,'' he said.
But those close to the team know Howells is one of those handy players who gets himself regularly in goal-scoring positions.
Hancocks led 1-0 at halftime before Profke went to work, equalising with his first tomahawk strike in the 41st minute.
But as quickly as Norths replied, Hancocks went 2-1 up through a fine goal by an excited Hayden Michel.
Profke equalised again before putting his team 3-2 up off a penalty corner.
Thornton looked to have secured a win for the Devils before the lively Ryan Smith scored with just over six minutes left.
Howells' terrific late goal came after Smith brothers Ryan and Nathan were again dangerous, controlling the ball in the circle before providing a precise pass for Howells to tap in.
"We're happy to get a draw after going two down but we always wanted to win,'' said Howells, who also found the early water pools tough to handle.
"It was very hard at the start,'' he said. "The ball was just stopping. You can't run with it, you can't beat anyone.''
Hancocks' next major mission is Sunday's Combined Competition final against Newtown in Toowoomba on Sunday. The match is at 2.40pm between the top side from Ipswich and leading team from Toowoomba.
The women's Combined Competition final is at 1.15pm between unbeaten Wests and Toowoomba opponents Red Lion.
A number of A Grade games are being played at Raceview on Saturday afternoon from 2.30pm into the evening.