Goodna outclassed at home
HOME ground advantage was not enough to get Goodna close to Brothers at Woogaroo Field yesterday.
The Brethren's 34-18 win highlighted the gulf between the competition leaders and the rest, with the scoreline flattering Goodna, who scored two converted tries in the dying minutes to make it look respectable.
The truth was Goodna could not keep pace with Brothers, who were led up front by prop Josh Afoa and second rower Liu Faamate, while backs Jason Connors and Shane Gibson, in particular, were too slick.
It took nine minutes for Brothers to open the scoring when Sam Krueger barged his way over from close range.
Krueger had been looking for runners and only had a go himself when he found none.
It indicated Goodna's enthusiasm in defence was not what it might be.
Krueger crossed again, in the 14th minute, this time following a break by fullback Gibson after a beautifully weighted pass by halfback Connors.
Goodna hit back with a try to five-eighth David Heketoa but Brothers put them in their place soon after when Gibson scored
Brothers pace was beginning to take a toll in the warm afternoon and Goodna's error rate climbed accordingly.
A Connors try seven minutes into the second half gave the visitors a 24-6 lead but it was what came next that put the game beyond doubt.
Goodna's restart was fielded by replacement forward Kiti Notoa on his own tryline and the big prop rumbled forward.
He had done something similar in the first half, running 50m before he was stopped. This time there was no stopping him as he ran the length of the field to score.
"They deserve full credit," Goodna captain Fa Tauaa said.
"They held the ball."
For the Goodna captain "possession" was the difference.
"You can't go in with them having 80% of the ball," he said.
Yet Goodna created enough chances to have stayed in the game, with passes just not going to hand when required.
"For us it's about the small things," Tauaa said.
"There's a lot of things we need to work on. We're trying to get our combinations right."
The captain denied his team lacked intensity in defence, instead blaming over eagerness for some lapses, such as Kiti Notoa's try.
If there was one Goodna player to impress the skipper it was half William Oloitoa.
"Willie came on and put in," he said. "He's just turned 21 and did well. He kept his head and there was a bit of arguing out there."
For veteran Brothers centre Troy Sharpe it was an impressive team performance.
"The team's good," he said.
"It's coming together."
It was noticeable even early in the game that the Goodna forwards were slow to get back on side after Brothers kicks.
On a warm afternoon, with the visitors enjoying the bulk of early possession, Goodna couldn't match the pace at which Brothers played.
It was part of their plan.
"We up tempoed," Sharpe said.
"We like to play in the heat.
"It suits our game."
Sharpe paid tribute to his forward pack for laying the platform to victory.
"They led the way," he said.
For the better part of a decade Sharpe was a forward, packing down in the back row.
That was after joining Brothers from West End where as a youngster he was a centre.
But this year he has found his niche at centre once again, where his experience, reliable defence and no-frills attack are proving vital.
"It took a while to get used to," he admitted. "But me and Fili (five-eighth Fili Notoa) love playing together.
In the weekend's other A grade match, Norths beat Fassifern 30-16 at Harrisville.
State of Play
Brothers 34 (Sam Krueger 2, Shane Gibson, Jason Connors, Kiti Notoa, Aaron Bennett tries; Fili Notoa 5 goals) def Goodna 18 (David Heketoa, David Solomona, Alex Tafili tries; Francis Leger 3 goals).
Swifts 52 (Josh Cleeland 3, Robbie Fletcher 2, Randy Mam, Shane Williams, John Maila, Zeb Nuuola, Vinny Stephan tries; Stephen O'Donohue 4, Vinny Stephan 2 goals) def West End 10 (Lincoln Wilmott, David Boland tries; Lincoln Wilmott goal).
Norths 30 (Andrew Campbell 2, Jarrod Biggs, Anava Fesolai, Tonga Mounga tries; Nathan Carney 5 goals) def Fassifern 16 (Harold Mosby, Jack Mounsey, Andrew Walker tries; Andrew Walker 2 goals).