Eagles respect Indigenous contribution
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Goodna Eagles will don jerseys designed by club legend Craig Wehrman when they host Swifts tomorrow.
The unique threads feature an Indigenous artwork, which holds special importance for Wehrman.
They are being unveiled for the Goodna powerhouse's annual Indigenous round and will be auctioned after the full-time whistle to raise funds for the club's junior presentation night.
Coach Corey Kirk said both the club and the competition shared proud traditions of Indigenous participation and involvement, with many Indigenous stars featuring prominently over the years.
He said the occasion presented an opportunity for the club to acknowledge its Indigenous members past and present, who were an invaluable asset, making substantial contributions on and off the field.
"It is a significant round for us,” he said. "Hopefully, we can sell the place out.”
Since inception three years ago, the initiative has gone from strength-to-strength, and a large and vocal home crowd is expected to strike intimidation into Bluebird hearts.
It has also proven to be an auspicious fixture on the field for the Eagles, with the club yet to taste defeat in the yearly clash.
Former Goodna hard man Wehrman will visit the sheds pre-match to present players with their jerseys and deliver a pep talk.
Kirk said it was hoped words of wisdom from Wehrman would fire up his men, who had no shortage of motivation for the monumental clash.
"We have a lot to play for,” he said.
"It is pretty special.
"All of the boys want to be selected.
"It is a privilege for them to wear the custom jersey.”
As the season nears the business end, Kirk is acutely aware that his side must continue to win to have any chance of finishing in the top two.
He said the aim was to finish the season with conviction, avoid dropping another game and arrive at the finals in peak form.
"We'll look to increase the quality of our performances and hit our straps at the right time,” he said. "Hopefully we can finish in the top two.
"But it is not the end of the world if we don't. I'd still be confident of going deep into the finals,'' he said.
"I wouldn't want to be playing us in knockout footy.”
Kirk admits it is becoming increasingly difficult to select a top 17 but he feels the Eagles are close to settling on the right balance to take them to the title.
He said it was particularly encouraging to see Queensland Rangers representatives Brett Kelly and Ono So'oialo were starting to lift and the rest of the team was following suit.
Hard-running prop Perry Ioane returns from suspension.
Captain Ramon Filipine is missing due to his commitments with Samoa at the Pacific Games.
Kirk said his outfit was nearly back to full strength and was confident of securing the victory over a Swifts unit possessing a quality pack and sharp outside backs.
He said he was anticipating an extremely physical up-tempo style of contest and there would be absolutely no excuses from his men.