HERITAGE: Fassifern captain David Fa'alogo and Goodna captain Ramon Filipine will be fierce foes today. They share a remarkable connection to the same small Samoan village and off the field there is mutual respect.
HERITAGE: Fassifern captain David Fa'alogo and Goodna captain Ramon Filipine will be fierce foes today. They share a remarkable connection to the same small Samoan village and off the field there is mutual respect. David Nielsen

Captains reveal how grand final will be won

BEFORE today's A Grade grand final, QT rugby league writer Joel Gould caught up with the respective captains, Fassifern's David Fa'alogo (DF) and Goodna's Ramon Filipine (RF), to talk about a clash for the ages.

QT: Who do you have to stop in the opposition side to win this grand final?

DF: I'd have to say Ramon Filipine and their two halves, Corey Kirk and Alby Talipeau.

They have been the face of Goodna rugby league for a while.

If we can shut down those three we should get some joy.

Halves are the players that get you the victories. Alby has been around for many years.

Corey Kirk is similar to Alby where they both steady the ship and steer the boys around the park.

Ramon is big and powerful, and has good footwork.

RF: David Fa'alogo is definitely one. He has a great offload and he is always setting up their left side, which has been their standout side.

That is where they get a lot of their points from.

Their centre (Leveni Kurimalawai) on that that left side is so dangerous. His stats speak for themselves.

He is worth about three tries a game so we have to keep an eye on him.

Their number nine Kali (Nauqe) is another one. You can't rest with him.

He can make something out of nothing, like he did in the semi when they had nothing on and he chipped it through for Scott Ireland to score under the posts.

QT: Who is the X-factor in your own side who can break this game wide open?

DF: I'm a bit biased but I'd have to say Benny (Kurimalawai), the centre on my left side of the field.

He has been awesome all year.

His step gets him three metres either side.

That is how big his step is.

It is a joy to watch him in action. He gets us out of some real tough patches at times.

RF: I'd have to say (centre) Ray Baira.

We've only seen glimpses of his best this year because he's been held back a bit coming off knee surgery.

But there is no bigger occasion than a GF, and against his old club too.

He chased down their fast centre (Kurimalawai) in the semi and caught him, and no-one has done that all year.

Fassifern was cheering because he still scored, but I was cheering because Ray chased him down. It just shows that Ray has got him covered.

QT: You have both played at higher levels. What do you enjoy most about playing for your side in the Ipswich competition?

DF: I enjoy giving back, not just to Fassifern but to the local league as well.

When I came to Fassifern one of my goals was to empower them with self belief and knowing that they can match it and be as good as players at any other club.

RF: For me it is all about community, and Goodna is a family club for me.

My dad played for Goodna as well, and my brothers.

Two of my cousins were part of the A Grade side that won three grand finals in a row (2003-2005) and I watched all of those.

For me it is all about coming back and playing with the guys I have grown up with.

It is a special bond you sometimes don't get at a higher level where people are playing for themselves.

You come down here and there isn't much money involved.We play for the love of the game and for each other.

QT: What would it mean to you to win the premiership at this late stage in your career?

DF: It would be a highlight and it would mean a lot. Playing this year I have started having a lot of fun.

I've enjoyed talking to the players on the field, off the field and at training.

I have seen them take in what I have said and learned from it. That is a joy. To win will just top our season off.

RF: It would mean a hell of a lot. We have won it once (in 2016) together.

But we can't rest on our laurels.

We have to prepare well because Fassifern are a great side.

They didn't get the minor premiership for nothing and we won't be taking them lightly.

QT: You are both of Samoan heritage and both captaining your sides in a grand final. Is that something that is significant to you and pretty special?

DF: It is very special. We are coming up against Goodna, a club that has a majority of Samoan heritage players and from other Pacific nations.

I am playing for a country club that has a few Fijians, Papua New Guineans, Tongans and Samoans. We have a real mix out at Fassifern.

It is nice to see and good for the community to witness a couple of Samoan guys captaining their sides in this grand final.

It is a big match as well, and I can't wait.

RF: It is definitely special. I was just talking to David about it when we had our photo taken. David's family and my family are from the same village in Samoa called Saleimoa, on the island of Upolu.

That's almost unheard of to have two Samoans captaining each other from the same village.

It is definitely going to be competitive out there but we are going to have that respect as well.

People around the place are saying we are up against the Fijian Bombers, which is cool.

We have Samoans, Tongans and our own Fijian flyer on the wing, Ratu (Waqanivalu).

They have the PNG boys up front and are represented by other cultures.

I love it. I think that is really good.

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