Swifts A Grade players review the state of play at halftime during a recent match at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
Swifts A Grade players review the state of play at halftime during a recent match at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Franca Tigani

Swifts switch focus to looming finals

HAVING secured second spot for the Ipswich A Grade finals, Swifts are anxious to take their recent improvement to a new level.

Coach Megan Bool knows that will be needed for last year's runners-up to counter competition pacesetters and defending champions Wests.

"Wests are the standouts but I think the last few weeks people have pushed them a little bit more,'' Bool said, happy with Swifts' latest 2-1 win over Hancock Brothers.

"And I think everyone on their day can come out with a win so that will make semi-finals really interesting.

"That's why we've been trying to work really hard and improve because we know it's definitely not going to be easy.''

In repelling a late Hancocks' charge, Swifts moved to 30 points, behind Wests (55).

Hancocks are on 23 (with a minus 6 percentage), ahead of Norths 23 (-13).

Swifts tackle cellar-dwellars Bellbowrie this weekend before a testing clash with big improvers Norths leading into the playoffs.

Bool has been encouraged by her team's commitment, especially when having key players away or injured.

Swifts lost defender Casey Haumaha (knee twinge) and Alyce Blore (hit on the thumb) to injury in the second half of Sunday's win over Hancocks.

Bench players like Courtney Dixon stepped up to help the Bluebirds complete their mission after right half Jess Dodd and left winger Katie Ostrofski scored in the first half.

It was Ostrofski's first goal for Swifts having returned this season.

Sara Rogers scored for Hancocks in the second half to set up an enthralling finish.

"It was a hard tough win,'' Bool said. "They (Hancocks) really came at us. We just scrambled.

"It was probably not our best hockey but it's always good to get a win, even if you are not playing as well as you'd hope.''

Being a former A Grade player, Bool knows how finals provide a different challenge.

"Coming in and winning these really hard games does put you in good stead for those semi-finals,'' she said. "It's just about battling through and getting that win and that's what we have been doing.''

In the men's A Grade competition, Easts regained top spot by holding out Norths 3-2. Hancocks beat Wests 1-0.

Latest points: Easts 34, Hancocks 32, Wests 26, Norths 20.

State of play

A Grade men: Easts 3 (C Mantell, R Grocott, B Manderson) d Norths 2 (Z Profke, A Woodward); Hancock Brothers 1 (A McClelland) d Wests 0.

A Grade women: Wests 4 (E Jackat, L Hess, A Kickbusch, G Nicholls) d Bellbowrie 1 (T Munro); Swifts 2 (J Dodd, K Ostrofski) d Hancock Brothers 1 (S Rogers); Norths 3 (S Parlett 3) d Bellbowrie 0.