Brothers best IRL club in city
BROTHERS claimed their sixth A-grade title from the past eight seasons when they beat Goodna 32-24 at the North Ipswich Reserve in yesterday's grand final.
It completed another Ipswich Rugby League title hat-trick for the club after Brothers under-18 and Reserve grade teams also won yesterday.
The A-grade win was set up by a near-perfect first half display. The Brethren led 28-0 at the break, then 32-0 soon after.
As Goodna started compiling points in the second half, it always seemed as though it would be too little, too late.
But that didn't prevent bad memories from last year creeping into the thoughts of halfback Jason Connors.
Connors, who was named man-of-the-match, admitted he was starting to get worried as Goodna hauled back Brothers' lead.
"I was thinking about last year," he said.
On that occasion, Brothers led Fassifern 16-0 at half-time but couldn't close it out.
"We led and they kept coming," Connors said of the Eagles.
"Which you wouldn't think they would after so many games.
"It was credit to them."
It was credit to Connors more than anyone else that Brothers led 32-0.
He set up three of Brothers' five first half tries, putting teammates through gaps with sublime passes.
One was a short ball to IRL Old Boys' most valuable player from the match, Liu Faamate.
One was an inside pass to Sam Krueger and one a flat ball to send Brooke Alofipo over.
It was from his chip kick that Faamate scored the Brethren's only try of the second half.
"That's my job," Connors said.
"To put players through holes and look where the opposition are short. If I can do that, we should score points.
"When players are running into holes, it makes me look good."
For 50 minutes they did and it looked like the match would be an anti-climax with Brothers romping home.
The signs were bad for Goodna.
Injuries to three forwards in the first half reduced their interchange options on a hot afternoon.
On top of that, Brothers gave them nothing to work with.
Goodna struggled to get out of their own half and lacked penetration as the Brethren made them work hard for every metre.
The expectation was the big Goodna forwards would wilt in the heat.
Another injury in the second half meant no replacements for the Eagles to call upon but Goodna drew on heart and pride.
The situation prompted Eagles five-eighth Alby Talipeau to start carting the ball forward like a prop while fullback Vili Leaunoa was a threat every time he sniped around the ruck.
"In the first half we were clinical," Connors said.
"Then we got on top and started to think we had it in the bag.
"We were not getting to our spots and dropped the ball at important moments.
"We took our foot off the pedal.''
Fortunately for Brothers' fans, the premiers proved they had learnt their lesson. "We knew what we did wrong last year and fixed it up," Connors said.