Goodna comes out on top as Norths showcase talent
NORTHS may have dominated the weekend's junior President's Cup clashes, winning four of the six finals.
But in the top age group, the under 17s, it was the Goodna Black side that proved it is the best in the Ipswich Junior Rugby League, beating Springfield Black 18-14.
It is no great surprise.
Coach Alastar Tauaa has a squad of 22 he can rotate to suit the situation and 16 of the players were in the team that finished third in last year's under 17 competition.
"It was a pretty good win," Tauaa said.
"The boys were a bit better staying in the grind a little longer, which put the pressure on them."
Goodna had lost their early season clash against Springfield and Tauaa put his experience from that match into practice.
"We adapted our style a bit," he said. "We've got a good mix of blokes and now and then we play a big forward pack.
"But the Springfield forwards are smaller and we knew they'd be a bit fitter and faster than us, so we learned from that."
Leading he way was Eagles halfback David Iopu, who Tauaa rated his team's best.
Tauaa has the benefit of combinations built since last season and at school level, where nine of his squad attends and plays for St Peter Claver College.
It has made his job much easier and is a big part of the reason the Goodna Black side is now favoured to take out the under 17 title.
"Coaching at this level is all about building on what you've already shown them," Tauaa said.
"So we've been able to progress a lot of things."
All Tauaa has to do is keep building while ensuring his players don't get carried away with their own success.
Tauaa expects Springfield to be a major barrier, with Norths and Redbank Plains the dark horses for this year's title.
"You can never count out Norths," he said. "They're well drilled and the speed of their ball work is always a challenge.
"It wouldn't surprise me if Sione Faumuina's Redbank Plains Bears make the finals as well."