The grand final-winning West E-Grade hockey side, which was also named this year's Ipswich hockey junior team of the year.
The grand final-winning West E-Grade hockey side, which was also named this year's Ipswich hockey junior team of the year.

Team of the year honour caps wonderful season for Wests

WITH a fit young side, strong family connection and important development values, Danni Emblem was one of the proudest coaches at Ipswich Hockey's junior grand final day.

After her diverse E-Grade girls' side was named team of the year, she had every right to be.

Assisted by her daughter Jade, Danni oversaw the talented Wests side that beat Swifts 2-0 in Saturday's grand final.

The young Magpies scored 92 goals throughout the season, only conceding two.

But it was their work ethic and sportsmanship that sealed the team of the year honour for the girls.

"The juniors are really important,'' Emblem said.

"I think that's where they learn those basic skills and they want to work hard for you and they want to please you so you get a lot back out of it.''

At the start of the season, some of the Wests players aged from eight to under 11 were unable to trap the ball. But by grand final day, they were a well-drilled unit.

"It was just through their commitment, their hard work and a bit of hard love,'' Emblem said. "We always did fitness after training and I think that's what got us over them.

"We play for each other. We play as a team and that's really important.''

Emblem is a former A-Grade player now enjoying putting time back into the kids.

"It's just making sure of development,'' she said.

Danni's co-coach Jade was a former state player before taking some time out.

Jade's sister Charlie also shared in a wonderful day of finals where the Wests' D-Grade girls held out a strong challenge from Swifts to win 1-0.

Like her sister and mum, Charlie is a halfback.

"That's the beauty of Wests,'' Danni said.

"We have such good coaches in our juniors.

"And can you see that from today with E-Grade, D-Grade and now C-Grade coming up as well.

"They do all have really good coaches and development. They are all on the same page.

"It's just exciting for the club.''

The only goal in the D-Grade Girls decider was a penalty corner scored by Sophie D'Castro in the 56th minute.



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