Captain leads Hancocks charge
AFTER getting changed in the car, Dean Pavitt dashed onto the field to assume his usual role as Hancock Brothers captain.
He was glad he made the effort.
After an 8-1 victory over Easts the previous weekend, Hancocks thumped last year's other grand final side Norths 7-2 in their latest A-grade match.
With finals only weeks away, Hancocks have secured an all-important top two spot.
Even with five regular players out, Hancocks had more speed and determination than Norths.
It was a positive sign the team with so much young talent was finally ready to deliver, having last won the grand final in 1987.
"It was an excellent win, especially with the young kids who stepped up because we were so short today,'' Pavitt, 27, said.
Among Hancocks regulars missing were Jay Pavitt, Kai Douglas, Josh Davies and Adam McClelland.
"It's all came together with a big squad and it's really starting to show improvement,'' Pavitt said.
With Hancocks for 13 years, the loyal skipper praised former international player Jake Burns for his work returning this year, supported by co-coach Martin Flanigan.
"He (Burns) is sensational. He has turned us all around,'' Pavitt said.
"And just the mateship we have. We've all become pretty close now.
"If someone does make a mistake, it's a pat on the back instead of a blow-up.
"Marty and Jake, they are great.''
Like a number of his teammates, Pavitt has also been playing in Brisbane. He's with Norths.
"I came straight from my Brisbane game,'' the right half said, having played in the Division 1 competition for four years.
"I left at three-quarter time and came straight down here (to the Ipswich Hockey Complex).
"I had my dad drive me so I could change in the car for the start of this match.''
Having seen Hancocks falter in previous finals series, Pavitt is backing this year's improving squad to meet the challenge.
"I think we've got a bit more self-belief now,'' he said.
"We all believe in each other and that's why we are top of the table.''
An added advantage for Hancocks this season is their increased strike power.
Six players scored in Saturday's rout, including A-grade newcomer Hayden Michel and Ben Darby, who recently made his debut.
"We knew with such a young team, that we had to pick up the scraps really well,'' Pavitt said.
They did. Hancocks led 3-0 at halftime and 4-0 with 25 minutes left before Nick Maddocks scored the first of his two goals for Norths.
Any Norths comeback was quickly extinguished as Hancocks finished the job with superior attack and tidy goalkeeping by Cade Banditt.
In the other A-grade men's match, Wests also had a huge win in beating Easts 9-0. Todd Watson netted a hat-trick.
In the women's competition, Hancock Brothers outlasted Swifts/Thistles 2-1 and Norths downed Bellbowrie 3-0.
HANCOCKS captain Dean Pavitt was clearly excited about his team's final prospects after two big back-to-back wins.
However, he was also cautious after Hancocks' latest 7-2 victory over Norths following a 8-1 thumping of Easts.
"The teams that are playing at the moment haven't got their full teams so it's going to be different coming into finals,'' Pavitt said.
That's why securing top spot is so important. "That double shot is what we need with our Brisbane players,'' Pavitt said.
"We need that Sunday final for the first one and then even if we do lose, we can have another Sunday one.''
Brisbane Norths are out of finals contention, allowing Pavitt to play in the Ipswich A-grade finals starting this month.
However, teammates like his younger brother Jay, Josh Davies and Adam McLelland play for top two Brisbane sides Commercial and Easts. They are hoping to be available for the Ipswich finals series.