MAJOR MOMENT: Goodna Gladiators rugby union captain David Pamatatau, coach Heta Pamatatau and lock Phil McCormack prepare for tomorrow’s grand final.
MAJOR MOMENT: Goodna Gladiators rugby union captain David Pamatatau, coach Heta Pamatatau and lock Phil McCormack prepare for tomorrow’s grand final. David Nielsen

Goodna cuts through obstacles to decider

IT IS five years since the Goodna Gladiators last graced Ballymore Oval.

Hard work and trouble have been familiar obstacles.

Floods, player exodus and committee changes have made focusing on footy tough at times.

But that only serves to make their Pegg Cup (Subdistricts Reserve grade) grand final against Pine Rivers all the more satisfying.

"It means a lot for the community," Goodna coach Heta Pamatatau said.

"Especially for the club and the kids.

"We had another setback this year with our uniforms coming late.

"It was last-minute so we lost players. But we've got more juniors this year, and a Reserve grade and women's team."

It means things look good for the future.

But now the focus is on the biggest game of the year.

Pamatatau coached the Goodna Colts to grand finals in 2006-07 and the Barber Cup (Subdistricts 1st grade) in 2008-09, winning in 2008 but losing to Pine Rivers in 2009.

Goodna and the Boars have split the ledger this season, with one win each.

It was the grand final Goodna were hoping for, with two teams who like to run the ball.

"They're a good side," Pamatatau said. "They've got a giant lock."

The Boars might have their giant but Goodna have their ultimate Gladiator in 49-year-old lock Phil McCormack.

McCormack might not be able to outjump the Boars' big man but he has the experience to take advantage of any opposition shortcomings.

In 2008, the rangy lock supported a 50m break in the dying minutes to score his team's grand final winner over Easts Longhorns.

He was then a sprightly 43-year-old who said he was going to retire after the game.

McCormack and Pamatatau's son George are the only two remaining from that game in 2009, but it remains large in their memory.

"It's just getting it right up here," McCormack said, tapping his temple.

"It will take discipline to start with. And attitude.

"You've got to go into the game wanting to do your job.

"The boys have really started to come together."

They will miss hooker Michael Baice, however, one of several ruled ineligible for finals for having played too many games in the top grade.

He was a major driving force in the team, barking orders and encouragement throughout.

His absence means skipper and five-eighth David Pamatatau has to be more vocal, though he admits it's not his nature.

"Not saying anything makes my job easier," he said.

"I have to do both roles now. But our experience is going to help us.

"We now what it's like to win and lose and we don't want to lose again."

Pegg Cup decider

  • Goodna Gladiators v Pine Rivers Boars
  • Where: Ballymore Stadium, Herston
  • When: Tomorrow 1.20pm

Goodna team: 1 Marvell Baice, 2 Vakapuna Ainuu, 3 Tutaia Sakaio, 4 Phil McCormack, 5 Chris Hiko, 6 Nathan Pamatatau, 7 Andrew Falevaai, 8 Bismarck Leota, 9 Malaki Oloitoa, 10 David Pamatatau, 11 Leka Fatai, 12 David Titi, 13 Matthew Tupu-tuia, 14 George Pamatatau, 15 Daniel Nuimata, 16 Fred Eteaki, 17 George Tohi, 18 Tony Salesa, 19 Bruce Ligaliga, 20 Poko Winangaro, 21 Francis Pamatatau.



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