Inspiring kids, setting fine examples and a 'full moon' goal
IT'S not always about winning at all costs.
After scoring a rare "full moon'' goal to seal victory, Norths captain Terry Wode typified the tremendous camaraderie being developed in Ipswich's R2 men's development competition.
Wode was quick to hug and acknowledge his opposing captain Ben Lewis after Norths came from 1-0 down to hold out Easts 2-1 in Saturday's season decider.
The captains then united in each team's dressing rooms to celebrate what had been achieved this season.
"We had a relationship with the Easts' guys throughout the year where we tried to play in the spirit of the game,'' Wode said.
"We believed that if there was a 50/50 sticks (call) and it didn't probably have too much bearing on the game, then we would put our hand up.
"We play a lot of hockey with them in rep teams and we decided that they would extend an olive branch to us to come into our sheds (after the game) and we would do the same.
"And that's what really the spirit of that division is trying.''
Ipswich's R2 competition is a transition league where experienced players often work with new or young players to help them improve and enjoy hockey.
Having enjoyed similar success in previous seasons, Wode said it was important for Norths to acknowledge their opposing players and fans from both sides for encouraging them.
"This year we've had a bit of player transition and we've brought a lot more youth up in that competition, and they have done a wonderful job,'' Wode said.
After the game, the players made an effort to thank those cheering them on at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
"A lot of those people were just supporting their tribal colours and we thought it was really important to acknowledge them during and after,'' Wode said.
Wode said the example set by both teams after Saturday's game was teaching the young kids good sporting values.
While the higher grades were more competitive, Wode said the R2 competition was about "getting those young people in love with the game and continue to play.
"Because what we are seeing in hockey all throughout the country is once they get 15 and they get into seniors, there is a significant drop-off rate.''
He said in Ipswich's R2 men's competition, all teams had a balance of senior experienced players assisting the younger players coming through.
He said as the benefits of the R2 competition continue, some of the players will progress into the higher grades.
In Saturday's grand final, Wode scored his winning goal with five minutes to go, slamming it in from an acute angle.
"You can tell it's a full moon when I score because I only got one goal throughout the year,'' Wode said.
"I thought if I just get it in the right spot, someone might touch it in and I think it surprised everybody because it seemed to go through the keeper's legs.''
That came after Adrian Jackson equalised in the third quarter after Easts went 1-0 ahead through a Jonathan Barnes goal in the first half.
Wode said that provided another valuable lesson for the R2 youngsters.
"The importance is that you are playing competitively to win the next battle,'' he said.
"That next battle could be a defensive hit. It could be a corner, it could be a trap. It could be a tackle.
"So if you win the next defensive play then it builds towards the next attacking play and sometimes the hardest running is to run in defence.
"A lot of our guys just worked really, really hard and we instil that work ethic in them and they all did a really good job with that and so did the Easts' boys.''
Wode praised Easts goalkeeper Logan McDonald for his terrific effort, earning him the player of the final honour.
"He saved probably 10 and he's a very good young man,'' the Norths skipper said.
A-Grade men's grand final: Norths 3 (Zac Profke, Dean Jeffrey, Luke Randle) def Hancocks 1 (Carter Chappell).
Player of the final: Kai Douglas (Hancocks).
A-Grade women's grand final: Wests 4 (Eden Jackat 3, Amy Kickbusch) def Hancocks 2 (Abby Eleison, Natalie Davison).
Player of the final: Layla Eleison (Hancocks).
Reserve Grade men's grand final: Wests 3 (Aaron Gotting, Lucas Alchin in regular time, Christian Coulson-Futcher in extra time) def Easts 2 (Chris Mantell, Tim Woodford).
Player of the final: Max Schulz (Easts).
Reserve Grade women's grand final: Wests White 3 (Georgia Stenzel, Nikita Stenner in regular time, Talicia Canty in extra time) def Easts 2 (Bianca Dolan, Ashley Spry).
Player of the final: Grace Vermeer (Easts).
R2 men's grand final: Norths 2 (Adrian Jackson, Terry Wode) def Easts 1 (Jonathan Barnes).
Player of the final: Logan McDonald (Easts).
R2 women's grand final: Swifts 4 (Tayla Floyd, Jazmine Richards, Emma Jeffrey, Lianna Doyle) def Hancocks 1 (Beth Mantell).
Player of the final: Perdita Voight (Swifts).
A2 men's grand final: Hancock Brothers 10 (Jacob Burns 7, Jonathon Grant 3) def Norths 3 (Brian Milburn, David Robke, Aron Woods).
Player of the final: Jacob Burns (Hancocks)
A2 women's grand final: Wests 3 (Samantha Lawrie in regular time, Jayne Goetzsch 2 in shootouts) def Thistles 2 (Loretta Steele in regular time, Pauline Alchin in shootouts).
Player of the final: Kiana McPeake (Wests).