Eagles swoop in tough tussle
WHEN it mattered most, Goodna had too much firepower for Brothers.
The traditional Ipswich Rugby League grudge match did not disappoint, with the two teams going try for try in the first half at Richardson Park yesterday.
Brothers had to make a late starting change when halfback Jason Connors was late, while hooker Blake O'Loan spent most of the match on the sideline after a nasty early knock.
Goodna led 18-10 at the break but both teams had proven their ability to post points.
Eagles winger Eden Smith scored twice for the home team, finishing off some slick lead-up work on both occasions.
After the free-scoring first half, the second term seemed like it was heading for a stalemate, with no points scored for the first 20 minutes after the break.
But when first David Solomona, then Alby Talipeau, threw away Eagles' possession with poor passes, Brothers hit back when Sam Krueger followed up a Sione Piutau bust to close the gap to two points.
It looked as though the big Goodna forwards were waning in the warm conditions.
But Krueger's try sparked the home team, who responded in impressive fashion as their big men found a second wind.
It led to Eagles lock Just Swney grabbing his second try of the match and Smith claming a hat-trick to take the game away from Brothers.
"It's always there," William Oloitoa said of his team's second half resurgence. "We never give up. But we've just got to be humble and have patience."
Brothers sealed their own fate by too often giving away penalties in their own territory.
Goodna were also guilty of indiscipline, but no team can afford to come to Richardson Park and give the Eagles the leg-up Brothers did yesterday and expect to win.
Oloitoa had a ball when his team was rumbling forward so it was no surprise he credited his forwards.
"The whole forward pack," he said. "They carried us there with the defence on the middle of the park. It was all defence for us. We kept to it.
"It's been a long time since we've beaten them here."
Oloitoa admitted Brothers had posed the biggest threat to his team so far this season and the visitors at times were able to match Goodna in the middle.
Josh Afoa and Piutau made inroads and Liu Faamate provided the defensive steel necessary to stand up to the Eagles.
"It was a tough game," Krueger said. "It was always going to be whoever came through the other side. Our game plan worked at times. There was a bit of indiscipline but a lot of times we held strong."
Not having their halfback there for the start made the task harder than it needed to be.
"It didn't help," Krueger said.
"But we don't use any excuses.
"Goodna are going to be hard to beat all year."
In yesterday's other IRL A grade game, Norths beat Fassifern 28-22.