This time winning is everything
AFTER experiencing one of the cruellest ways to lose a grand final, the Ipswich men's hockey team has a simple motto this weekend: "Winning is everything''.
Chasing a return to the state's top hockey competition this time last year, Ipswich was beaten by Gold Coast 5-4 in sudden death drop-offs.
The extra-time defeat at the State Hockey Centre left many players hurting.
Ipswich coach Nathan Hooper was there last year and knows how much his side wants to regain its rightful place in Queensland's leading intercity series.
"I think that level of determination has been shown in just the manner they've been training,'' Hooper said.
"It was one of the most painful things a lot of us had to go through - losing that final in the last couple of minutes.
"It steeled all our resolve to make sure that we put our best foot forward and have no excuses come this season.''
Having worked with a squad since January, Hooper is happy with the final 16 players that carry Ipswich's hopes starting Saturday.
"We're very keen to get down there and start the tournament,'' the premiership-winning former Easts A-grade coach said.
"We've picked guys that can build combinations together and we've really picked the players that are in good form at the moment.
"This year, we are a lot better prepared than we were last year.
"Everyone has been extremely focused on what we want to achieve and we're going into this tournament with winning is everything.''
Ipswich has two teams in the Division 2 pool.
Joining the sides coached by Hooper and Bill Chandler (Ipswich number 2) are Brisbane 2, Gympie and Maryborough.
The teams will play a round-robin format on Saturday and Sunday on fields at Colmslie and Chermside. The top two contest Monday's final.
Ipswich 1 opens its campaign against Maryborough at 10.30am, after Ipswich 2 starts by tackling Gympie at 8am.
Both first-up matches are at Colmslie before afternoon clashes at Chermside between Ipswich 1 and Brisbane 2, and Ipswich 2 and Maryborough.
"It just means that every game you have to win, putting that extra pressure on you,'' Hooper said.
"Everyone's been training really well and the side is starting to gel together quite well. There's a wealth of experience - the guys have had both Premier League and open competition exposure.''
Ipswich co-captain Mark Pocock was rested last weekend as a precaution after being injured the week before.
Adam Wooler is on standby should Pocock be unable to play.
TEAMS FOR STATE TITLES
Ipswich's two men's teams are playing in Division 2, trying to secure Ipswich promotion to next year's Division 1 competition. The Ipswich women's side is in Division 1/2. Games are at Colmslie and Chermside fields.
Men's No. 1 Open: Steven Bayliss, Lachlan Brown, William Dalais, Jeremy Dalais, Paul Dionysius, Jaden Ekert, Tobias Figura (co capt), Dean Jeffrey, Mark Llewelyn, David Llewelyn, Peter Mitchell, Mark Pocock (co capt), Brenton Sippel, Todd Watson, Andrew Woodford, Anthony Woodward. Shadows: Jarrod Brown, Trent Davison, Kyah Sharrad, Adam Wooler. Coach: Nathan Hooper. Manager: Peter Llewelyn.
Men's No. 2 Open: Lucas Alchin, Jarrod Brown, Joshua Davies, Trent Davison, Ayrton Coolwell, Tom Douglass, Andrew Horrocks, Nick Maddocks, Kai Douglas, Dean Pavitt, Andrew Pratt, Shaun Pratt, Dane Rew, Kyah Sharrad, Kyle Sippel, Adam Wooler. Coach: Bill Chandler. Manager: Bruce McManus.
Women's Open: Pam Edmunds, Bridget McLean (co capt), Kayla Tierney, Peta Brooks, Sara Rogers (co capt), Kiah Ahern (co capt), Karlin Haug, Jessica Fox, Dayle Coombes, Crissy Reid, Stephanie Bice, Robyn Clarke, Carly Young, Natalie Davison, Lexie Ahern, Tennille Fraser. Shadows: Eden Jackat, Jade Rew. Coach: Kel Iszlaub. Assistant coach: Mark Sharrad. Manager: Sharon Fox.