Digging deep

Ipswich Diggers player Wise Kativerafa displays his strength during his team’s impressive win over Gold Coast at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Ipswich Diggers player Wise Kativerafa displays his strength during his team’s impressive win over Gold Coast at the North Ipswich Reserve. Sarah Harvey

BEFORE Saturday's clash with the Gold Coast Vikings, Ipswich Diggers players spoke about a renewed pride in the jersey.

By Saturday night, they turned talk into action, overcoming years of domination by the visitors to celebrate a stellar 36-18 win.

It was 80 minutes of hard-nosed professionalism by the Diggers in attack and defence as they piled on six tries to three to break their Gold Coast hoodoo.

It was the ultimate team effort although fullback Nemani Suguturaga, who replaced the injured Jason Biggs, was a standout. Suguturaga gave the Vikings' defensive line nightmares before an ankle injury late in the match ended his day.

Captain Andrew Walker and Jason Connors won the battle of the halves while Shane Williams and Fassifern Bombers super-sub Fakahoko Teutau (Husky) were devastating in attack.

Gold Coast opened the scoring in the first two minutes, strolling over for the simplest of tries, giving the Diggers an early reminder of years past.

But tries to Kali Nauge and Walker gave the Diggers the early buffer, which they never looked likely to concede.

The Diggers laid on four first half tries and two in the second, with Ben Seve's 80 metre solo effort late in the game a fitting end to a dominant Diggers' performance.

Walker said the scoreboard was a testament to the effort of his team. "That was a really good win," Walker said.

"It was a tough first half but we got those 12 points up early and put them under pressure.

"The second half was a real arm-wrestle and we knew if we gave them a sniff, they'd come back strong.

"The boys just held in there."

Despite losing up to six players from the starting line-up to injury, suspension and travel, the Diggers performance highlighted the depth of talent in the IRL.

It also showed the new-found determination of players to pull on a Diggers jersey.

"The boys dug really deep and showed that pride in the jumper today," Walker said.

"We've really come together in the last two weeks.

"They've had the wood on us for the last five or six years.

"We just had to come and aim up today and the boys just really wanted to play for each other today.

"Last year was good but they just steamrolled us at the end.

"Today, our blokes showed a lot of character and they deserve this win."

While the Diggers were dangerous in attack for the 80 minutes, it was a 10-minute period of defence midway through the second half that will have coach Paul Lowe beaming.

After bombing opportunities to put the Vikings away early in the second half, back-to-back penalties gave the boys from the glitter strip a chance to get back into the contest.

Ipswich held out three consecutive raids on their line through try-saving tackles by Nemani, Williams and an awkward high ball take by winger Harold Mosby.

The dogged defensive effort was followed by aggressive back-to-back attacking sets, resulting in a game-breaking try to halfback Connors.

The win will give the Diggers a new level of belief ahead of their clach with Brisbane Division 2 on Saturday night.


State of play

Ipswich Diggers 36 (Ben Seve, Brook Alofipo, Andrew Walker, Jason Connors, Kali Naque, Shane Williams tries; Andrew Walker 6 goals) def Gold Coast Vikings 18 (Matt Ovington, Dylan Nash, Andrew Fairweather tries; Craig Chapman 3 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.

Topics:  diggers football gold coast rugby league vikings

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