OFFLOAD KING: The ability to play 80 minutes, hit hard and create opportunities for his play-makers has made Jake O’Doherty invaluable to Brothers’ form.
OFFLOAD KING: The ability to play 80 minutes, hit hard and create opportunities for his play-makers has made Jake O’Doherty invaluable to Brothers’ form. Rob Williams

Brothers coal train on track for finals

HE'S the leg-pumping, off-load king behind Brothers return to the top of the Ipswich Rugby League competition.

With his distinctive grey and black headgear, Jake O'Doherty has proven he isn't afraid to line up some of the competition's biggest targets.

The burly number eight led the way for the Brothers forwards during his side's draw with Goodna on the weekend. At one stage of the game he even put Eagles man-mountain Ramone Filipine flat on his back with a determined run straight at the Goodna captain.

Working as a plasterer during the day, O'Doherty said he was willing to put his hand up because he knew those around him would do the same.

"We all share it around," he said. "I can't praise our forward pack enough.

"Sometimes you know the team needs someone to stand up and get them going again.

"Against Goodna we got stuck for a bit there and with those big forwards they have they can get a bit tired.

"If you go straight at them or put a bit of footwork on you can get lucky."

Run hard, hit hard, turn and offload.

There might not be much complexity to O'Doherty's running style but that's hasn't made him any easier to shut down. A big frame and the hands of a halfback, he might as well be the Dave Taylor of the IRL.

The defence can either try to stop his momentum or try to wrap the ball up but it's near impossible to do both unless there's a good three or four in the tackle.

Even then that's four defenders missing from the line if O'Doherty still gets that's offload away and his teammates know it.

"My old man (Pat) was one of the best offloaders and everyone always praised him for how he got the ball away," he said. "Watching him play in the NRL he would take on an entire forward pack.

"I guess that rubs off a bit.

"He definitely showed me a few tricks in the backyard.

"Second phase broken play is one of the hardest things to stop on a rugby league field so I'm always looking for an offload.''

He might not have the fleet feet of fullback Josh Leisemann, but that hasn't stopped the Brothers hit-man from crashing over for five tries this year.

"I always try and lead by example when I can," O'Doherty said. "In my old man's day forwards didn't come off the field which is why I always aim to play the full 80 minutes if I can.

"I think we've got one of the most underrated forward packs. Guys like Trevor Exton, Elijah Umu, Denman Ah You and Jack Boettcher have been dominating a lot of the competition which is why we've been winning games.

"Having Jason Connors playing again has added a bit of composure and direction to the team."

In their fourth of five straight home games, Brothers will host West End at Brother Seery Oval on Sunday from 3pm.



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