Excellent reward for Parlett and Pocock
THE emotion Mark Pocock displayed highlighted how much it meant to him.
However, this was different to winning an Ipswich A-grade hockey premiership or leading a representative team to glory.
Receiving Ipswich Hockey's inaugural Barry Dancer Award for Excellence reminded the popular player where he started and what he has achieved in two decades playing his favourite sport.
"It's fantastic," said Pocock, 31.
"It was a bit of a surprise even to get nominated.
"To win the award was pretty special."
Pocock received the prestigious award at Ipswich Hockey's end-of-season presentation function at the North Ipswich Railways Workshops on Friday night.
The award was introduced to recognize personal achievement on the field as well as commitment to Ipswich Hockey, work with juniors and being a role model.
The Norths skipper received his award from Donna Dancer, wife of Ipswich's most successful player and international coach. Barry was in New Zealand but sent his regards in a letter of support.
"I've always respected the man," Pocock said.
"He inspired me to really keep playing hockey when I was in juniors.
"My first year playing club in E-grade, he coached Hancocks. We went through undefeated."
Pocock later moved to Norths where he's become one of the club's most successful and admired players.
He's shared in seven A-grade premierships and played influential roles with Ipswich and South West teams at major championships.
"I've played for Ipswich now since before 2000," Pocock said, preparing to represent Norths again in this weekend's A-grade grand final.
"I've played every year for Ipswich that I could be available since under-11s. Whenever asked by Astro (Ipswich regional coaching Neil Shearer) to come out and help out with juniors, we always jump in and give a hand.
"There's nothing like helping the Ipswich kids out."
Pocock displayed his trademark team spirit in accepting the award ahead of long-time teammate Tobias Figura and consistent Easts performer Chris Mantell.
"A lot of us guys live and breathe Ipswich so to even be nominated - Tbone and Chris - we all could have won that award," Pocock said.
"I just get a sense of pride playing for Ipswich.
"It's hard to describe the feeling when you run out with an Ipswich shirt on. I always consider it an honour."
The hugs Pocock received after winning proved how much he deserved the honour.
Female winner Sarah Parlett was also modest in collecting her award in front of 180 guests.
The dedicated Norths mum received the inaugural Amy Korner Award for Excellence for her outstanding contribution to hockey. Former Hockeyroos player Korner presented the award.
"I didn't expect it," said Parlett, 27, beaming with pride.
"I coached the C-grade girls this year. That's been a really good experience this year."
Parlett's well-drilled team won Saturday's grand final in beating Collegians 2-1.
Parlett has played since she was 10, sharing in four A-grade premierships and a C-grade grand final win with Norths.
"I just love being out there (at the Ipswich Hockey Complex). It's a good environment, lots of lovely people," she said.
Parlett returned for a full season this year after having three children in four years. She helped out as team manager while attending to motherly duties.
Australian Country player Sara Rogers and rising representative talent Natalie Davison were the other deserved finalists.
Barry Dancer Award for Excellence: Mark Pocock.
Amy Korner Award for Excellence: Sarah Parlett.
Senior Players of the Year: A Grade men - Jarrod Brown. A Grade women: Kiah Ahern. Reserve Grade men: Ayden Grulke. Reserve Grade women: Indiana Evans. R2 women: Kelly McAuliffe. A2 men: Andrew Miller. A2 women: Rose Radloff.
Basil Coker Award for umpiring achievement: Aaron Gotting.
Herb Eleison award for service to umpiring: Leonie Young.
Men's club champions: Wests. Women's club champions: Norths.
Men's final standings: Wests 149, Hancock Brothers 134, Norths 123, Easts 77, Bellbowrie 75, Northern Tigers 9. Women's final standings: Norths 201, Wests 191, Hancock Brothers 178, Swifts 160, Thistles 145, Bellbowrie 127, Vets 71, Collegians 52.
Ipswich senior finals review in tomorrow's QT. Comprehensive junior finals wrap-up in Wednesday's QT.
Look out for grand final team photos in a special QT souvenir liftout next week.