MAIN MAN: Fassifern halfback Kali Nauqe leads the IRL A grade best-and-fairest points tally.
MAIN MAN: Fassifern halfback Kali Nauqe leads the IRL A grade best-and-fairest points tally. Claudia Baxter

Nauqe proving player to watch

IT WILL come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Ipswich Rugby League A grade competition closely to learn Fassifern's Kali Nauqe leads the best and fairest points ratings.

With 11 rounds down and seven to go, Nauqe leads the standings with 11 points, ahead of Swifts five-eighth Josh Cleeland (9).

Equal third on six points are Cleeland's teammates Tele Salesa (prop) and Shane Williams (lock), as well as Goodna five-eighth David Heketoa.

But it is Nauqe, more than any other, who has lit up the games in which he has played this year.

So it is no wonder he was Ipswich's sole representative in the Queensland Rangers team this year.

"He's playing probably as well as last year," Fassifern player-coach Paul Roos said. "But because we don't have the same side this year he's doing a bit more."

Anyone who has watched the Bombers this season when Nauqe has been playing couldn't have failed to notice his contribution.

At times he has seemed to be everywhere at once running, passing, kicking long or short for himself or others.

Then in defence he is just as likely to produce a bone-jarring hit as any of the biggest forwards.

"He's taken it up to a new level," Roos said.

"Defensively and in attack he is doing a lot more."

Perhaps the greatest improvement however has come in the shy Fijian's on-field communication.

"He's talking a lot more," Roos said.

"He feels confident talking to the guys now.

"Where in the first couple of years he didn't say much."

With Nauqe taking on so much of the playmaking responsibilities, his communication skills have been crucial to ensure his teammates know what he is up to.

"It helps with the rest being on the same page," Roos said.

"At the same time it enables Walker (captain and five-eighth Andrew Walker) to take a step back."

That gives Walker more time and space to operate in.

The combination of the two will be vital if Fassifern are to defeat Norths when they host them at Harrisville tomorrow.

The Tigers are in third spot after their impressive 36-22 defeat of Goodna last weekend.

The fifth placed Bombers meanwhile, need a win to keep up the pressure on the top four.

They got our of jail with a late Walker field goal to defeat Swifts last weekend but will need an improved showing against the Tigers.

"They go the whole 80 minutes," Roos said of Norths.

"They play a very fast brand of football and are very similar to us in terms of size. The winner will come down to who controls the ball better, completes sets and makes better use of the ball."

Nauqe's lead in the best and fairest points is no surprise, nor is the presence of Cleeland, who has been almost as dominant.

The surprising thing is the presence of three Swifts players in the top five, given the Bluebirds sit fourth in the six team A grade competition, having lost their past four matches.

One explanation could be that Swifts are more reliant on their few stars than other teams.

Swifts should end their losing streak when they take on West End at Basin Pocket this evening.

Game Day

West End v Swifts at Daniels Park (A grade 5.30pm, Reserve grade 4pm today)

Goodna v Brothers at Woogaroo Field (A grade 3pm, Reserve grade 1.30pm tomorrow)

Fassifern v Norths at Hayes Oval (A grade 3pm, Reserve grade 1.30pm tomorrow)

Under 18: Redbank Plains v Brothers at Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve, 4pm today; Fassifern v Norths at Hayes Oval 12pm tomorrow; Lowood Tarampa v West End at Lowood Recreational Reserve 12pm tomorrow, Goodna v Swifts at Woogaroo Field 12pm tomorrow.

Open Division 1: Rosewood v Goodna at Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve 5.30pm today; Lowood Tarampa v Swifts at Lowood Recreational Reserve 1.30pm tomorrow.

Open Division 2: Redbank Plains v Norths at Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve 6.45pm today.



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