Looming threat: Norths on target for annual finals charge
HOCKEY: Sharp-shooting Norths striker Nick Maddocks has missed some A-Grade games this season travelling to shows as a licenced aircraft maintenance engineer.
However, he enjoyed flying high with his team in Norths' latest 4-3 victory over competition leaders Hancock Brothers.
Apart from scoring his second hat-trick of the season, Maddocks was pleased to see the Devils showcasing the form they started the season with before faltering.
"We always struggle mid-year,'' the 29-year-old Norths premiership-winning player said.
But as Norths do most years, the multiple premiership-winning team peak for the finals.
Norths have secured second spot for the playoffs, being on 28 points after 19 games.
Hancocks are outright leaders on 40 points, with Wests in third (24) and Easts on 19.
After this weekend's final regular season clash with Wests, Norths can focus on making an impact when it matters most.
"We haven't been scoring too many field goals lately,'' said Maddocks, who has played A Grade since he was 16.
"It's kind of good to not rely on our corners.''
After Jake Thornton netted Norths' first goal from a "ripper tomahawk'' shot on Friday night, Maddocks slammed home the next three.
Maddocks has been busy at aircraft shows, where he specialises in vintage planes.
"I've just had a few things on with work and been away for a few weekends,'' he said. "It was good to be back and playing Hannies again.''
Maddocks said beating Hancocks was a positive result.
"They had a pretty strong squad,'' he said. "But we were kind of pressing pretty hard to get the points to guarantee second place in the finals.''
Upstaging the A-Grade leaders also showed Norths were returning to their early form.
"I think it's going to be pretty close this year,'' Maddocks said of the finals.
"We came out pretty strong at the start of the season. Through the middle of the season, we just took the foot off the pedal a little bit and just cruised through.
"With the win on Friday, it was good to get back into it, get a win on the board going into the finals.''
He said the younger players blooded this season were gaining experience that would be valuable in coming weeks.
Norths' timely win came before Wests scored an important 6-4 win over Easts.
Caleb McCoombes netted a hat-trick in that game.
In the women's A-Grade competition, defending premiers Wests accounted for Swifts 6-1 and main challengers Hancocks held out Norths 2-0.
Wests are on 52 points, ahead of Hancocks (43), Swifts (17) and Norths (17) with one match until the finals.
Ipswich's junior semi-finals start on Saturday morning.