Eagles soar to IRL grand final
A RESURGENT Goodna will play Brothers in the Ipswich Rugby League A grade grand final.
The Eagles won yesterday's preliminary final 20-12 at the North Ipswich Reserve, upsetting a Swifts Bluebirds outfit that failed to rise to the occasion.
Swifts started the match favourites after pushing Brothers last weekend.
Goodna, on the other hand, were playing their third game in eight days.
As such most expected them to tire early but they finished full of running, with halfback Francis Leger crossing for a try in the final minute to seal it.
Swifts had plenty of attacking opportunities but too often let Goodna off the hook with dropped balls and penalties.
"That was awesome," Leger said.
"It's good to know we're going to the grand final.
"It shows the hard work we've been doing is paying off.
"But we're still one step away."
Brothers will go into the grand final favourites, particularly given Goodna's gruelling schedule.
But Leger doesn't think it has harmed his team's prospects.
If anything he believes it has enhanced them.
"In all fairness it was easy backing up," he said.
"With that game during the week Swifts probably thought we would come out sorry and sore.
"But our recovery has been good. I think the mid-week game gave us some match fitness."
Leger joined the Eagles after playing for Souths Logan last year.
He answered a call from his cousin, fellow new Eagles recruit and former Kiwi international David Solomona.
He is glad he did, putting the win down to the determination and team spirit within the group.
"It was just our heart," he said.
"We had to dig down deep to come out on top.
"We'll have to stick together against Brothers."
Goodna led 10-0 at half-time but Swifts started the second half like they should have the first.
Their intensity lifted and centre Shane Williams scored twice in the opening 12 minutes off Vinnie Stephan passes to put the Bluebirds in front 12-10.
But Goodna hit back soon after through centre David Heketoa from their first attacking foray of the half to make it 14-12 to Goodna.
When Swifts had a penalty within kicking range Leger began to worry.
"What went through my mind was deja vu of another two hour game," Leger said, referring to the double overtime against Norths last weekend.
"We let that one slip.
"So I just kept saying, 'Don't let it be a repeat of last week.'
"At the end of the day we wanted it more."