What a comeback after Super League 'hangover'
WITH all the club and representative hockey going on in recent weeks, Sara Rogers has been busy playing in Ipswich, Brisbane and overseas.
However, the Ipswich sportswoman is seizing on every opportunity to coach the Hancock Brothers men in this year's Ipswich A Grade competition.
"I'm really enjoying it,'' the Hancocks, Ascot, South West Lumberjills and Australian Country representative said.
"The boys are really responsive and very respectful.''
That was highlighted in Hancocks' latest 5-2 win over the in-form Norths' line-up.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Hancocks players fired up to hold the Devils scoreless while scoring five goals.
The Hancocks team featured a number of players who helped the South West Lumberjacks reach the previous weekend's Super League grand final.
That included speedy Smith brothers Nathan and Ryan, who joined striker Jackson Willie and Zac Hoyland-Meaker on the goal-scoring list.
"They knew that they wer-en't playing quite well,'' Rogers said.
"I think there was a bit of a hangover from Super League.''
However, that changed after the break as the fast and skilful Hancocks' combination dominated possession and completed a terrific comeback.
Easts held out Wests 2-1 in the other A Grade men's match on Friday night.
In the women's A Grade competition, Hancocks were awarded a 1-0 win after the game was stopped with 25 minutes to go due to an injury to Norths' goalkeeper Tayla Young.
After major concern over Young's well-being, Rogers said she recovered well. Young was struck on the helmet and knocked unconscious.
The win kept Hancocks up with defending premiers Wests, who overcame Swifts 6-3 in their latest A Grade clash.
Fresh from umpiring the Division 1 over 40's final at the Queensland Masters Championships in Cairns, Hancocks women's coach Mark Eleison was keen to build some Hancocks' momentum.
"I think we've had one week where we've actually had a full team,'' Eleison said.
"It will be nice to have all the holidays, the Super League and the breaks all over and we can get down to putting our core together and playing with our core team.''
Among players recently away have been Abby Eleison and Caleisha Harper on Met West under-19 duty.
However, the Hancocks coach has started giving promising youngsters like Hayley Grieve a run in the forwards.
In the latest Queensland Country selections, Rogers was named a shadow player along with Hancocks' teammate Natalie Davison.
That came after Rogers recently lined up on another Australian Country tour to Asia where the Aussie women won all seven matches.
"Probably the quality of previous years wasn't there because the Malaysia team was over here playing the Comm Games,'' Rogers said.
"But we played the Singapore national team and the Malaysian development team who were quite handy as well. We beat them just.''
Returning home, Rogers joined the youth-laden Lumberjills side that finished fifth.
"Particularly this year, it was tight across the board,'' Rogers said.
"Anyone could beat anyone on their day at the tournament.
"We lacked experience in our attacking area.
"We were definitely in games. We just couldn't finish teams off.''
Ipswich-based Hancocks and Lumberjills player Layla Eleison was selected in the Queensland Scorchers squad.
State of play
A Grade men: Easts 2 (J Easton 2) d Wests 1 (G Walker); Hancock Brothers 5 (J Willie 2, N Smith, R Smith, Z Hoyland-Meaker) d Norths 2 (Z Profke 2).
A Grade women: Hancock Brothers 1 (E Kill) d Norths 0; Wests 6 (A Kickbusch 4, A Nicholls, L Hess) d Swifts 3 (J Dodd, A Stacey, M Reilly).