UNDER SKIN: Goodna Eagles hooker Jaison Heke was named Reserve Grade player of the year for his uncompromising and skilful performances.
UNDER SKIN: Goodna Eagles hooker Jaison Heke was named Reserve Grade player of the year for his uncompromising and skilful performances. David Nielsen

Meet Goodna Reserves' pesky Mick Ennis clone

HE calls himself the Michael Ennis of Ipswich rugby league and doesn't mind admitting to being "a bit of a grub''.

Meet Goodna's Reserve Grade hooker and player of the year Jaison Heke, one of the great characters of the game.

A hooker/lock over the years, Heke relishes the rough and tumble of the contest.

But even the Eagles rake admits he didn't expect to even be in the contest when it came to a best and fairest award.

"When I was invited to the RLI dinner, and then had my name called out for the award . . . I was overwhelmed,” Heke says ahead of Saturday's Reserve Grade grand final clash between Goodna and Brothers.

"I couldn't fathom it, because as the vice-captain I am always in the refs' ears and asking them questions.

"I see myself as a real pest, the Mick Ennis of Ipswich rugby league.

"You can ask players from other clubs and they will tell you 'he is a grub' and 'he is a dirty player'.

"I like the conflict. I like the grind.

"I don't mind being a grub every now and then. That is part of football.”

Ennis is a gentleman off the field, as is Heke.

The QT asks Heke if he admired Ennis, the former niggle master of the NRL, as a player.

"I admire Cameron Smith more,” Heke says.

"On and off the field he is a good guy.”

Heke is a colourful dude.

The QT said to him after the preliminary final win over Fassifern what a great game the number four, Tristan Sami, had.

"What about the number nine though,” Heke shot back with a grin from ear to ear.

At first glance it looked like Alby Talipeau was on the field.

"Alby, or Charlie Tonga,'' Heke quipped.

Heke was asked if he accepted the fact he was a bit of an Alby clone.

"I accept the fact that he calls me 'Tonga',” Heke says, before erupting with laughter.

"I'm not as large as Charlie Tonga but I look like him . . . in terms of my hairstyle and tattoos.

"I get grief that my calves aren't as big as his.

"When I am running on the field, or if I am lagging, all I will hear is Alby on the sidelines saying 'C'mon Tonga, pick it up'.

"I don't know if it is a compliment or he is taking the mickey out of me.”

Take it that it is a compliment.

Goodna players at training this week told the QT Heke was "tough as nails” and "the best player in Reserve Grade by a mile”.

Another said: "He's a pest, but he's our pest.”

One thing is certain, and that is Heke has enjoyed a great year.

"This year I have tried to be really consistent, everything from my defence to talking to the guys and keeping everyone motivated,” he says.

"My theory is that rugby league is all about mental toughness and if we can retain that we will go a long way.”

POWER GAME: Jaison Heke charges into the fray for the Eagles against Fassifern as five defenders try to stop him.
POWER GAME: Jaison Heke charges into the fray for the Eagles against Fassifern as five defenders try to stop him. David Nielsen

Heke is quick to pinpoint what he cherishes most about playing at Goodna.

"It is the mateship and culture here,” he says.

"We gather here for training every Tuesday and Thursday, but we also hang out after.

"We are all good mates outside of footy and might go out for dinner or catch up for a beer.

"Goodna is a welcoming place.

"I came here from Swifts about six years ago and I was branded 'the grub'.

"Our captain Malaki Oloitoa was the first one to say 'you are the one that always used to start the trouble at Swifts'.

"But I love it here. They have accepted me with open arms.

"You have to work your way up.

"The key thing is that you have to get everyone's respect first before you start making jokes about everyone.

"At Goodna there is a warm feeling and you can't break it down into words any more than that.”



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