Sharpshooter rekindles career with Wests
EXPERIENCED Ipswich hockey player and umpire Steve Rogers was two games short of 600 matches for Norths when he stepped down from A-grade.
That was about three and a half years ago.
However, the former Devils sharpshooter is glad he returned with Wests after scoring a hat-trick in his team's latest A-grade victory over Norths.
"I was a bit lucky," the modest striker said.
After upsetting Easts 4-2 a week earlier, the Magpies continued their late-season rally with a confidence-boosting 3-1 win over Norths.
For Rogers, it was a tough decision to switch from Norths to Wests where he now coaches the women's A-grade side.
However, the city's leading umpire did it for the right reasons.
"My son wanted to see me play," said Rogers, 35, having started hockey himself as a four-year-old.
"He'd been watching me umpire and all that, and was always going 'dad you only umpire'."
After being one of Norths' most successful goal-scorers for a decade, Rogers gave away playing to focus on his umpiring and CrossFit activities.
However, five-year-old Hudson had the final say, with dad showing his family values by returning five weeks ago for Wests.
"I love it," Rogers said.
"It's a bit different playing with Wests.
"We're travelling really good at the moment."
Rogers' main focus as an A grade and Reserve grade player is helping the young Magpies team gain some momentum for the fast-approaching Ipswich finals.
Players like Lucas Alchin, Blair Iszlaub and Mitch Moran are performing brilliantly in defence, allowing goal sneaks like Rogers to do their job up front.
Easts and Norths have set the standard this season.
However, the Tigers only beat Hancocks 6-5 in the other weekend match, showing the final series could spring some surprises.
It took four goals from speedter Tim Woodford to get Easts home.
State of play
A Grade men: Wests 3 (S Rogers 3) d Norths 1 (W Dalais); Easts 6 (T Woodford 4, T Miller, Z Hoyland-Meaker) d Hancock Brothers 5 (A Coolwell 2, A McClelland 2, J Pavitt).
A Grade women: Bellbowrie 0 drew Thistles 0; Norths 1 (S Parlett) drew Swifts 1 (A Doble); Hancock Brothers 4 (C Sippel, S Rogers, A McDermott, M Hartley) d Wests 2 (A Nicholls, S Dadson).
Australian Country titles: Both Queensland teams have started their campaigns well in Toowoomba. The Queensland men beat ADF 3-0 on Saturday, Western Australia 3-1 on Sunday and Victoria 3-0 yesterday. The Qld women beat ADF 6-1 and Western Australia 5-0.
The finals are on Saturday.