Easts defender Brenton Sippel clears the ball during his team’s 6-3 mid-season final victory over Hancock Brothers on Saturday.
Easts defender Brenton Sippel clears the ball during his team’s 6-3 mid-season final victory over Hancock Brothers on Saturday. Rob Williams

Tigers build on silverware tally

WITH three of the season’s four major titles in their keeping, Easts are on target to deliver another triumphant victory song on grand final day.

However, A-grade men’s coach Nathan Hooper conceded Hancock Brothers caused plenty of concern in his team’s latest success.

Hancocks led Saturday’s mid-season final 2-0 after nine minutes before minor premiers and Ipswich-Toowoomba Combined Competition winners Easts hit back.

The Tigers finally won 6-3.

“You always get worried at 2-0 down,” Hooper said.

“Against that side, with Morts (Glen Mortimer) and Robbo (Bruce Robertson) at the back, it makes it challenging to score goals.

“But once we got in front, I was more confident then.”

Hooper said his team started “a bit ordinary” after beating Newtown in the intercity final a week earlier.

“We play such a big game then you try and back up for another big game and we weren’t really that well prepared for it,” he said.

“That’s something we’ll have to work on come the end of August (for finals).”

However, with another trophy for the cabinet, Easts remained the team to beat.

“We never know when we’re going to sing our last victory song so we always make sure we sing it nice and hard,” Hooper said.

“Everything is starting to fall into place. But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.

“We want to make sure that we are as best prepared to take the field any time that we play.

“Full credit to Hancocks. They played exceptionally well once again. They are continually improving and they are not far off the mark.”

Hancocks player/coach Robertson was encouraged by his team’s start after Conlan Mallett caught the Easts defence napping and scored in the fourth minute.

Hancocks looked a winning chance when a super strike by Josh Davies put them 2-0 up.

“We hit field goals so that was all good,” Robertson said. “But we haven’t conceded six goals all season.”

Easts led 3-2 at halftime after goals by Chris Melvin, Daniel Mantell and David Llewelyn.

Robertson kept his team in the game after the break with a brilliant strike to level at 3-3.

But from there, defending premiers Easts gradually took charge with Mantell completing his hat-trick.

One of the best goals was Easts’ sixth strike when Steve Bayliss fired a pass across the goalmouth to Mantell who scored with five minutes to go.

Robertson reflected on his team twice getting into a position to win before letting the game slip, especially with the finals approaching.

“If we’re going to make poor decisions like that and give away short corners where they (Easts) have got a decent battery, we’re kidding ourselves come another six weeks time,” Robertson said.

“We need to address two areas: communication – there is not enough talk – and the decisions we made were poor.”

 

A grade men: Easts 6 (Daniel Mantell 3, David Llewelyn 2, Chris Melvin) d. Hancock Brothers 3 (Conlan Mallett, Josh Davies, Bruce Robertson).

Reserve grade women: Swifts 2 (K Lenaghan, R Anderson) drew Thistles 2 (H Nicolle, A Silcock) in normal time. In the second minute of drop-offs (nine on nine), Kirsty Lenaghan scored to give Swifts the trophy.

A2 grade men: Norths White 4 (J Burns, W Collins, A Woods, C Jeffrey) d. Hancocks Gold 2 (B Davey, S Drew).

J1 boys: Hancocks Blue 6 (J Shaw, J Pavitt, K Douglas, J Notley, J Halloron, D Isaacs) d. Hancocks Gold 1 (N Smith).