Swifts-Fassifern target finals
AFTER a slow start to the season, in which they couldn’t get a team together for the opening round, Swifts-Fassifern are looming ominously a month out from the Ipswich Rugby League under-18 finals.
After pushing undefeated leaders Redbank Plains in round nine, Swifts-Fassifern upset fifth placed West End 30-20 last weekend.
They play third placed Norths this weekend.
Another win would see them hovering just outside the top four, as fourth placed Springfield take on Redbank Plains while West End play sixth placed Goodna.
“The boys are putting in, week-in, week-out,” Swifts-Fassifern under-18 coach Charles Tonga said.
“The turning point was against Redbank Plains.
“We almost beat them. It was only in the last five seconds they won.”
Against West End, the joint venture team had four fresh reserves for the first time this year, with Tonga having recruited two more young Tongan players to the club.
“They struggled all year with numbers,” Tonga said of his team.
“They’re used to playing with only 13.”
It should be a huge boost having reserves to call on, but Tonga is wary his boys may use it as an excuse to clock off.
“When we had just 13 the boys dug in because we had no reserves,” he said.
“Now I think, against Redbank, Plains, they thought it’s alright, they can go off. It could be a downfall.”
Against that however, is the natural improvement the team is making as the Tongans, Swifts and Fassifern juniors all work out how to play together.
“Especially the Tongan boys getting better because they are learning the game,” Tonga said.
“They’ve learned a lot during training and being around the boys, watching the way it’s done.
“They really understand the game now.
“Before it was just about strength and power for them.
“They know they’ve got to play smart now.”
It is not just the Tongans who are benefitting either.
“The local kids are really enjoying it,” Tonga said.
“We’ve brought in some under 16s to make up the numbers.
“They’ve all grown as a team, with their camaraderie and coming together.”
Fassifern/Swifts respect their opponents this weekend – Norths, but will be treating every game the same from here on in.
“From now on every week’s a grand final,” Tonga said.
“We can’t take credit away from the good teams. But we’ll play every team like it’s a top team and each week get better and better.”
Redbank Plains 20
West End 8