UNITED LINK: Goodna coach Laurie Campbell and assistant coach and half Alby Talipeau have forged a strong partnership.
UNITED LINK: Goodna coach Laurie Campbell and assistant coach and half Alby Talipeau have forged a strong partnership. David Nielsen

Goodna 'A-Team' on track for glory

THEY work together at Queensland Rail and they coach together at the Goodna Eagles.

When it comes to a perfect team look no further than Goodna coach Laurie Campbell and his assistant Alby Talipeau, also the Eagles star half.

Ahead of Saturday's A Grade grand final clash with Fassifern the QT sat down with the duo to understand what makes them tick.

Talipeau says Campbell, the A Grade coach of the year, is only too happy to listen to the players and then implement their ideas into the team structures, so long as it is for the benefit of the team.

"Laurie is just so relaxed,” Talipeau says.

"He is not a coach who will say 'you have to do this and you have to do that'.

"Laurie is very open minded. He gives a lot of feedback back to the players and trusts his instincts and what the players are keen to implement.

"We have a lot of players who have played Q Cup or a higher level and he knows if they bring that experience back to Goodna the club benefits and he benefits.”

Campbell coached the Goodna Reserve Grade side for four years and won two premierships before coaching Swifts in 2015.

"Goodna is where my heart is. I just like the people around the club,” he says.

"The players show me a lot of respect. The Old Boys and supporters are all very passionate.”

Campbell, who coached the Eagles to the premiership last year, is relishing having former NRL and Queensland Cup star Talipeau as his assistant.

"We bounce ideas off each other and he just reassures me when you might doubt yourself and what you are implementing,” he says.

"I know the higher level he has been involved in and when I ask him if what we are doing is the right thing he will be honest with me.

"When he says 'yes, it is' that picks my confidence up too, because he has played under some great coaches who have forgotten more than I will ever know.

"The knowledge he has gained from them he brings back to the team.”

Coaching Goodna is an art, and it has to be mastered.

"Goodna is a hard gig . . . just working out players, their personalities and the off-field stuff,” Campbell grins.

"Not everybody can coach Goodna A Grade. You have to be very thick-skinned otherwise you will die by the sword.

"You have to go with the flow sometimes, and be a bit cranky sometimes and really give it to them.

"But if you keep saying 'no' to everything they want to do, then you lose them.

"I have been coaching for 30 years so I know how to work everything out between everybody.

"One of my attributes is being a people person.”

In his role at QR, where he has been for 40 years, the Goodna coach is a structural superviser and has led teams of people over the years.

"And if you don't know how to handle people down at Goodna, you are in trouble,” he says.

As for Talipeau, he is loving his time at the Eagles.

"I came here in 2013 from Swifts and played a season with Dave Solomona and one of my other good mates David Heketoa,” he says.

"We lost the grand final against Brothers and I went back to Swifts where Laurie ended up coaching (in 2015).

"Then he applied to get the job here in Goodna, and I had just started working with Laurie at Queensland Rail.

"So I was only too happy to come back.

"Normally on Monday we talk about footy for five or 10 minutes, and then it is all about work.

"Outside of footy, it is business. After work we have some fun and talk footy.”



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