The victorious Wests women's A-Grade team is hoping to add another grand final title to their collection in the club's 50th anniversary season.
The victorious Wests women's A-Grade team is hoping to add another grand final title to their collection in the club's 50th anniversary season. Rob Williams

Time to test Ipswich's new quarters rule

TWO of Ipswich's most experienced hockey campaigners have shared their thoughts about the new quarters rule as another exciting season starts this weekend.

Having played about 650 matches, A-Grade men's coach Greg Walker said the main issue of playing quarters rather than halves was a potential break in momentum.

"It depends on whether you are winning or losing,'' Walker said, preparing to test the rule change in Friday night's A-Grade season opener against Easts at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.

"If you are getting on top of a team, you don't really want to have the break. But if they are getting on top of you, a little break in between might be good for you.''

Walker was happy to see how the 17.5 minute quarters approach works at Ipswich level, especially in the early part of the season when it's so humid.

"I don't see that big a problem with it,'' he said.

"Some of the guys have been playing it in the rep side of things as well.

"The way the weather's going, I still think it's going to be hot.''

Ipswich Hockey women's a-grade grand final played between Hancock Brothers and Wests at the Ipswich Hockey Complex on Saturday night.
Wests A-Grade women's coach Brent Nicholls. Rob Williams

Multiple premiership-winning Wests A-Grade women's coach and former state player Brent Nicholls doesn't mind quarters but was uncertain about them being extended in the Ipswich competition.

"The initiative from world hockey (FIH) to go to quarters is a very good one,'' Nicholls said.

"However I certainly voted and believed in the international model of 15 minutes, not the 17.5 minute format.

"It just allows for a more explosive and entertaining package and women's sport is massively on the rise. So from a women's lifelong coach this was a more attractive option to entertain punters on what the women have to offer.''

Nicholls said the focus of hockey, as in other sports like T20 cricket, should be to "engage and entertain''.

"Cricket used to go for five days only and now you are lucky to have three beers before a T20 is done and dusted,'' he said.

"I thought the 15 minute quarters would have been fine and you play at a high intensity.

"It's all a learning curve for everyone.''

Meanwhile, Nicholls is happy how the defending grand final champions are progressing as the club prepares to celebrate its 50 year anniversary.

"We're tracking along pretty well,'' Nicholls said, adopting his usual low-key start to the season.

"The way I've always looked at it is it's such a disjointed first half of the year, you've got plenty of time to build into it.''

Having a young squad, Nicholls is cautious about over-exerting them too early.

Wests beat Hancocks 3-2 in last year's grand final.

Nicholls said the Magpies had retained all their players from last season except for Jade Close (motherly duties) and Emma Reeve (defence force).

Eden Jackat will remain as captain with Tarni Iszlaub back as goalkeeper.

The Wests women play Swifts on Saturday night in their first game of the new season.