Fassifern's IRL mission: Spoiling Brothers party
FASSIFERN will be without one of their top try scorers when the Bombers take on Brothers in a battle for second place this weekend.
While he might be the only Fassifern player out for tomorrow's game at Brother Seery Oval, points-machine Ray Baira will be a big loss for his side.
The club's leading try scorer, Baira has crossed the line a total of 17 times this season, and backed that up with 11 conversions.
Despite the undoubted talent of his missing winger, Fassifern coach Scott Ireland is confident his 'country boys' can get the win against Brothers.
"He's a great player but we have the depth," Ireland said.
"He only played 15 minutes last week against West End and we still managed to put a good score on.
"I've got full confidence in the side we have that they can do the job."
From bottom last just over a month ago, Brothers have been on a fast track to the top of the IRL ladder and now find themselves in outright third.
A win this weekend would bring Brothers within one point of the second-placed Fassifern.
While aware of the strong form shown by the Brothers forwards, Ireland believed his own side had plenty to offer in the engine room.
"I think our success comes down to our forwards," he said.
"We've got to have that go-forward to allow our backs to come into their own.
"Personally I think we've got one of the smaller packs in the competition but that's the way rugby league is going now. With less interchanges you play more back rowers and it's only going to lean more that way."
Just like Goodna coach Lawrie Campbell, Ireland said the versatile nature of his players had become a crucial aspect of his team's success.
With a roster of players who can fill in multiple positions when injuries arise, the Bombers coach said one notable shift this season had been his new number 13.
"Keiran Turner has been a stand-out all year," he said. "He was a fullback/centre and this year he has found his home at lock. He probably should have found his way there years ago."
"Aiden Boyce has been fantastic and our hooker Josh Ryan would have to be close to player of the competition in my eyes. We've been lucky with the depth we have at hooker which has allowed Josh to go into the halves a couple of times. We've got half a dozen utility players that are happy to fix a gap anywhere."
"Zac Marshall has played nearly everything this season and it's important to have those players who just go about and do the job required."
With the prospect of facing a fellow coach-player in Brother's Jason Connors, Ireland said he was looking forward to a tough test.
"I think everyone knew Brothers would come good around now," he said.
"It will be a really good test to see where we are at. Our season has been building perfectly and it's probably a bit more special because last year we were fighting for the wooden spoon.
"The confidence is there and we'll be looking to step it up against Brothers."
- Swifts Bluebirds v Goodna Eagles from 7pm today at Swifts RLFC, Purga.
- Brothers Ipswich v Fassifern Bombers from 3pm tomorrow at Brother Seery Oval.
- Norths Tigers v West End Bulldogs from 3pm tomorrow at Keith Sternberg Oval.