Wests A-grade women’s hockey co-coaches Brent Nicholls (left) and international umpire Steve Rogers.
Wests A-grade women’s hockey co-coaches Brent Nicholls (left) and international umpire Steve Rogers. Kate Czerny

Wests deliver Ipswich's leading umpire a much-needed win

AFTER adding five games to his international tally, Steve Rogers was keen to see how his young women's club side was going.

The Wests Magpies responded with a much-needed 2-1 A-grade victory over Norths at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.

But before rejoining co-coach Brent Nicholls and his Wests team, Rogers was in Malaysia umpiring five games in the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament.

The highlight for Ipswich's leading hockey umpire was controlling the semi-final between New Zealand and Korea. New Zealand went on to beat Australia 3-1 on penalties in the final.

The tournament continued Rogers' steady international rise.

"I couldn't get a final because the Aussies were in it,'' he said.

"I come out with an upgrade so I was happy with that.

"Now I've just got to wait and see (what future international opportunities arise).''

Rogers has officiated in about 30 international games.

He will umpire at next month's Super League tournament before the next Australian Hockey League championships in September/ October.

When in Ipswich, Rogers enjoys helping other players, especially the women's team he has overseen the past few years.

On Saturday night, the Magpies controlled the match for large periods, securing victory after two goals by exciting talent Gabby Nicholls.

"We probably let them get back into the game in the second half,'' Rogers said.

"We should have kept on pushing but the girls thought it was a bit easy in the first half and took their foot off the pedal.

"Hopefully we'll get a few more wins with the Toowoomba comp and then concentrate on winning most of our Ipswich games.''

Rogers has been encouraged by the young players gaining valuable experience. They include 13-year-old Talicia Canty, who was chosen to represent the Ipswich under-18 team in Sunday's Southern Cross tournament.

"She's a good player of the future,'' Rogers said, also backing youngsters like Jess Wilkinson, Lauren Hess and Gabby Nicholls to continue developing.

Wests goalkeeper Tarni Iszlaub had a superb game on Saturday night, well supported by experienced players like Amy Nicholls.

Rogers said co-coach Brent Nicholls has been doing a terrific job at training.

Rogers even shaded his head blue at the weekend to support the Beyond Blue and Prostrate Cancer Awareness day at the hockey complex.