Dynasty built on platform of pain
THE Brothers players have earned their right to be there.
In a season in which they've lost just once, there is no doubt Brothers will be deserved premiers if they beat Goodna on Sunday.
But they, and the club's supporters, owe a debt of gratitude to those who, over the past eight years, have made Brothers the dominant force in Ipswich Rugby League.
In 2006, Brothers had not won a premiership for five years nor had been in a grand final for the previous four.
But that team set a standard subsequent Brothers sides have only fallen short twice, in 2010 and 2012.
A precocious playmaker named Fili Notoa got his first taste of grand final footy that year.
Joining him in 2007 was current skipper and Brothers hooker Blake O'Loan.
"The club's always been tight," O'Loan said.
"That was the first year after our rebuilding phase that we found the winning way again. We took our footy back to being simple."
In 2008, Brothers looked down and out in the grand final with Goodna, high on emotion, rampant.
With 10 minutes to go in the game, O'Loan scored a try from dummy half.
Notoa followed it up with two against the tiring Eagles' defence and the Brethren snatched a win that had seemed beyond them.
"At that stage I was a young head in the team," O'Loan said.
"My job was just to listen to the halves and the older heads.
"That year was when I learnt most of what I know now."
Both Notoa and O'Loan know more than most about what to expect and what it takes to win a grand final.
Notoa insists grand finals are different to normal games.
The speed of the game means more pressure, both physically and mentally, in terms of decision-making and response.
"We've been there before," Notoa said. "It depends on who turns up or not."
One of O'Loan's tasks will be making sure his players aren't overawed by what is at stake.
"The occasion can get to you," O'Loan said.
"You've got to be aware of controlling your emotions.
"You go from 200 people watching to about 5000, with all but one end against us."
The pair of veterans are confident about their prospects tomorrow. "Just knowing the boys around us gives me confidence," O'Loan said. "If we play to the standard of football we're capable of, we'll be right."
1 Cameron Tolhurst
- Age: 23. Height: 181cm. Weight: 80kg.
- Occupation: Boilermaker. Nickname: Cammo or JT. Junior club: Lowood.
2 Ben Seve
- Age: 33. Height: 180cm. Weight: 97kg.
- Occupation: Security. Nickname: Seve trailer. Junior club: Goodna.
3 Brook Alofipo
- Age: 27. Height: 186cm. Weight: 95kg.
- Occupation: Council worker. Nickname: Tookie. Junior club: Manurewa (NZ).
4 Troy Sharpe
- Age: 33. Height: 188cm. Weight: 95kg.
- Occupation: Carpenter. Nickname: Sharpie. Junior club: West End/Brothers.
5 Lachlan Tuite
- Age: 20. Height: 185cm. Weight: 85kg.
- Occupation: Apprentice plumber. Nickname: Angry Ant. Junior club: Brothers/ Swifts.
6 Fili Notoa
- Age: 26. Height: 180cm. Weight: 98kg.
- Occupation: Civil worker. Nickname: Messiah. Junior club: Brothers.
7 Jason Connors
- Age: 30. Height: 176cm. Weight: 78kg.
- Occupation: Development Officer.
- Nickname: Conman. Junior club: Easts.
8 Josh Afoa
- Age: 22. Height: 191cm. Weight: 121kg.
- Occupation: Security. Nickname: Sua-army. Junior club: Logan Brothers.
9 Blake O'Loan (c)
- Age: 28. Height: 185cm. Weight: 76kg.
- Occupation: Plumber. Nickname: Blakie. Junior club: Brothers.
10 Jack Boettcher
- Age: 25. Height: 180cm. Weight: 93kg.
- Occupation: Sales rep. Nickname: Ched or Boettch. Junior club: Swifts.
11 Liu Faamate
- Age: 33. Height: 180cm. Weight: 98kg.
- Occupation: Chiropractor. Nickname: Sledge. Junior club: Khilipa (NZ).
12 Sione Piutau
- Age: 27. Height: 185cm. Weight: 136kg.
- Occupation: Storeman. Nickname: Pulu or Bull. Junior club: Logan Brothers.
13 Sam Krueger
- Age: 22. Height: 175cm. Weight: 105kg.
- Occupation: Groundsman. Nickname: Freddy. Junior club: Brothers.
14 Aaron Bennett
- Age: 26. Height: 182cm. Weight: 96kg.
- Occupation: Electrician. Nickname: Reecy or Benno. Junior club: Brothers.
15 Kiti Notoa
- Age: 28. Height: 190cm. Weight: 118kg.
- Occupation: Labourer. Nickname: Log. Junior club: Brothers.
16 Jim Quinn
- Age: 28. Height: 175cm. Weight: 87kg.
- Occupation: Plumber. Nickname: Piggy. Junior club: Brothers.
17 Jerome Easthope
- Age: 22. Height: 175cm. Weight: 87kg.
- Occupation: Real estate agent. Nickname: Segeyaro or Peanut.