Alby Talipeau letter on grand final day inspires Rez
GOODNA prop Rez Phillips has revealed how an inspirational hand written letter from veteran Alby Talipeau motivated him to rise from his sick bed and have a blinder in the Ipswich A Grade grand final win over Fassifern.
Talipeau, who also wrote to other players, addressed a letter to Phillips and star bench utility Ben Thorburn.
Phillips was in tears in the dressing room after the 32-14 win when he showed the QT the letter, which he intends to frame and keep for the rest of his life.
"It's been a great year from both of you but tonight I'm predicting great games from you both,” Talipeau wrote to Phillips and Thorburn.
"Rez, when you signed with Goodna I said to Laurie 'this guy . . . will be by far the best player in the comp'.
"I believe you've waited for this moment, and you will shine. Awesome player, and glad to play with you.
"Benny, you've played Q Cup and I believe you're best suited at hooker. You give great service at dummy half and are a very good defender.
"Your best asset is your talk and encouragement. Can't wait to see you excel when you get on mate. Good luck guys.”
The letter had the desired impact on both Phillips and Thorburn.
Phillips' face was green from a serious viral infection when he spoke to the QT after his stunning performance in the grand final. It was fitting in a way that he was because he played like that green superhero the 'Incredible Hulk'. A 50m charge to set up a Ray Baira try in the first half was as decisive a charge as you will ever see in a grand final.
"Alby gave the letter to Ben, and then Ben gave it to me on the team bus,” an emotional Phillips said.
"The deep words in that letter picked me up. I read it at the start of the game and I read it at half-time and it lifted me so much.
"I came to Goodna (from Souths-Logan) because I am really good mates with Lem' (Zac Lemberg). Benny came down here because I did.
"To know that Alby appreciates me so much was so inspiring. I will have his letter forever.”
Hours before kick-off Phillips, who missed the team dinner on Friday night, was in bed.
"I have a viral infection and I've been smashing the Vitamin C, horse radish tablets and garlic,” Phillips said. "I was in bed until one o'clock and walked down to Subway to get some lunch. But my wife looked after me, which was nice.
"I got through the game and it is just unreal to win with these boys. We've got a real good forward pack and a real tight forward pack. We all work for each other.”
Phillips looked healthier the day after the game after a few coffee martinis than he did on match day.
Thorburn was outstanding when he came on to replace Morris Ekeroma at dummy half and he had big shoes to fill.
Ekeroma was brilliant for the Eagles and scored a crucial 50m try when he swooped on a loose ball to open the scoring. Thorburn was also given a massive lift when he read the letter.
"It is just really good when a senior player like Alby tells you what he thinks of you like that before a grand final,” Thorburn said.
"This is my first year at Goodna and to come and play with all your mates is the most enjoyable footy you can play. I was at Souths in pre-season but the boys said how much fun they had and how great the culture is here.”