The Gatton Hawks will be looking to finish their 2020 Volunteers Cup series on a high when they host Saturday’s round of fixtures. Picture: Nev Madsen
The Gatton Hawks will be looking to finish their 2020 Volunteers Cup series on a high when they host Saturday’s round of fixtures. Picture: Nev Madsen

Final countdown for teams to finetune at Gatton

BOMBER'S BLAST

Anthony Breeze

THREE Rugby League Ipswich competition teams are guaranteed spots in the Volunteers Cup semi-finals after the latest round of matches.

Goodna were in awesome form last weekend. Norths did what they had to do and West End produced their finest 80 minute performance of the year.

Saturday's Round 10 matches at Gatton are the last before the semi-finals return to the North Ipswich Reserve.

Here's how the games line up.

1.30pm: Souths v Goodna

Souths put in a brave effort last week before losing to Norths.

Goodna were at their brilliant best in a riot over Gatton.

Souths will be playing their last game of the season and will be looking to end the season with a solid performance.

The Tigers have sustained several serious injuries to star players this year which has caused plenty of heartaches for coach Capewell. However the players that have taken the field have given it their all in trying times.

Its been the halves where the Tigers were crippled most losing Tuite, Lipp and Duggan during the season.

This has shown in some poor options that have been taken on the last tackle.

The forward pack has toiled hard this season being led by props Luke Maidan and Kyle Petersen while hooker Angus Hearn has been close to their best in most games.

Dangerous back Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga scores for Goodna. The Eagles juggernaut rolls on into the Volunteers Cup semi-finals. Picture: Nev Madsen
Dangerous back Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga scores for Goodna. The Eagles juggernaut rolls on into the Volunteers Cup semi-finals. Picture: Nev Madsen

Goodna on the other hand haven't suffered a great deal with injuries and have been able to keep the same team on the park each week.

The Goodna forwards have run riot in most game with Malaesilia, Ioane and Afoa in great form enabling the backline to click into gear.

Youngster Elone Taufa has undoubtedly been the find of the Volunteers Cup with some great elusive runs with has culminated in him scoring or setting up plenty of tries.

This game looks like it can only have one winner and Goodna will be dominating by a big space.

The Tigers were gallant last week against Norths but will find the Eagles a completely different side to contain.

3.30pm West End v Norths

Norths were a little flat last week but still won.

West End signalled they will not be making the numbers up in the finals with a polished performance over Valleys.

The Tigers are firmly entrenched in the top three and can't fall so it might be an opportunity for coach Mick Newton to experiment with some players or positions.

It also gives him a chance to maybe rest some players before facing Valleys the following

week in the semi-final.

He must however find why on some occasions that the side switches off in games and get them back to the mindset they had when they inflicted Goodna with their only loss of the season.

West End remain a title threat after rediscovering some fine form last weekend. Picture: Bruce Clayton
West End remain a title threat after rediscovering some fine form last weekend. Picture: Bruce Clayton

Lopi Folau and Jack Fisher have been strong upfront while Dylan Martin has been a workhorse in the middle.

Chris Scanlon returned to action last week after a lengthy lay-off and will have benefited immensely after blowing out the cobwebs.

The Tigers have also been well served by halves Lowe and Smith who have been at their creative best giving great services to Mounga, Fesolai, Plumb and Self.

West End have had an up and down season losing more games then their have won but only by small margins.

The main problem for the Bulldogs has been not being able to play out the full 80 minutes and some very poor last play options.

Recent performances have been strong and you can put that down to Foueti and Teutai who have really lifted their involvements the last few weeks.

The loss of captain and hooker Aidan Boyce was a massive setback but Jae coach Woodward simply moved half Israel Oti, a position that he played in last year's grand final win.

For West End to win this game, they must capitalise on every opportunity that comes their way and get some good ball out to the elusive Mosby Brothers, who on their day can carve up and opposition.

This will be a tight contest but on recent form I can see the Bulldogs getting away with a win.

5.30pm: Gatton v Valleys

Both teams were last start losers with Gatton getting thumped by Goodna and Valleys suffering a huge loss to West End.

Gatton have home field advantage and hopefully will get a big crowd to try and turn around a performance that was way below par last week.

The Hawks tried to the end with several injuries basically giving them no bench to be able to use rotation with some players having to play out of position.

Consistent Gatton performer Shannon Hicks. Picture: Nev Madsen
Consistent Gatton performer Shannon Hicks. Picture: Nev Madsen

Shannon Hicks has been a guiding light for Gatton but he needs other forwards to follow him into battle if they are to cause a boilover here.

If the forwards can punch some holes in Valleys then they have strikepower outside with Oliver Bichel and Tyson White in great form with limited opportunities.

Valleys were not at their best last week but were severely undermanned with a host of star players not making the trip down the range and it really showed in their poor performance.

They looked very disjointed in attack and the Bulldog forwards found far to many holes in the middle.

I am sure the Roosters will be back to near full strength this week and will put last week's loss away in the memory bank and look forward to the finals next week.

This match is billed as the chicken and chips match with the winner having some bragging rights.

Valleys won't be as bad as they were last week and I can see them roaring back into form this week with a comprehensive victory here.

Quick thoughts

POSITIVES: 1. Liverpool fans who haven't stopped celebrating the title from last season have seen their team start on fire again winning their first three games. Leicester, Everton and Aston Villa also remain undefeated.

2. Finally some good news for Broncos fans with the appointment of favourite son Kevin Walters as 2021 coach. He has a huge job on his hands but if anyone can instil self belief in the playing group it's Kevie.

3. The NBA playoffs have seen some sensational contests and now we are down to two teams - The Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. Can Lebron get it done for the Lakers?

Negatives: 1. Roosters fans were brought back to earth with their team putting in a terrible performance just one week out from finals. Records show they can't win the title now with no team managing the feat after being defeated by more than 50 points in a fixture game.

2. The Canterbury Bulldogs had a season to forget on the field but it's nothing compared to the antics that are taking place off the field in the boardroom. The family club is self destructing from the inside.

Sporting birthdays

1. 1965 - Darren Cahill - Aussie tennis player who went on to have a successful coaching career, mentoring the likes of Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray and Simona Halep.

2. 1967 - Frankie Fredericks - One of Namibia's greatest ever athletes, winning silver in the 100/200m at consecutive Olympics.

On this day

1. 1909 - First rugby union match is played at Twickerham with Harlequins defeating Richmond 14-10.

2. 1966 - Aussie Surfer Robert "Nat" Young completely dominates his rivals to win the World Surfing Championships at Ocean Beach.

3. 1991 - NHL No 1 draft pick Eric Lindros rejects Quebec Nordiques offer of $50m over 10 years.



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