Premiers aim for new level
RESPECTED Hancock Brothers coach Martin Flanigan enjoyed his team's massive celebration after it broke a 28 year hockey drought.
He knew how much went into achieving the long overdue premiership success.
Current Hancocks A-graders were joined by former players, club stalwarts and supporters in partying on at Brothers Leagues Club and a bowls day.
The emotional scenes at the Ipswich Hockey Complex immediately after Hancocks beat Norths 3-1 in the grand final included tears of joy.
However, with the start of a new Ipswich hockey season just days away, Flanigan is already focused on more success, without the added pressure.
"They certainly celebrated it well,'' Flanigan said of Hancocks' deserved club bonding.
"Now I'd like to see these guys work on their individual games and their skill levels, trying and take it to a new level if they can.
"It's about them enjoying their hockey and getting as much as they can out of it.''
Preparing for his fourth season as men's A-grade coach, Flanigan has lost some key players including last year's co-coach Jake Burns (playing in Brisbane) and Sam Morgan (knee surgery).
However, Flanigan is confident the core of last year's side can deliver more memorable results.
Among those is goalkeeper Cade Banditt, who is training with the state under-21 squad after being named in the National Futures program last year.
Kai Douglas is another Queensland under-21 shadow player, who has been doing additional work in Brisbane.
The dependable Dean Pavitt will remain Hancocks captain, having provided a backbone of steel during the club's tough period trying to break the drought.
School teacher Trent Davison will coach the Hancocks women's side in addition to playing A grade for the defending premiers.
"We're about three weeks into our pre-season,'' Flanigan said, keen for another trial before the new Ipswich hockey season starts on the weekend of March 11-13.
"The guys that are still involved are keen.''
The Hancocks women also look like fielding another strong combination after winning last year's grand final 3-0 over Wests.
Easts are still trying to form an A-grade men's side. A meeting tonight will review efforts to attract enough players to keep a four-team A-grade competition intact.
Swifts have again nominated a team in the women's A-grade division, along with Hancocks, Norths, Wests and Bellbowrie.
Draws will be started later this week once the A-grade situation with Easts is clarified.