DANGER MAN: Norths captain Josh Roberts played his first match on Friday night since leading the Tigers to last year’s grand final win over Brothers (pictured).
DANGER MAN: Norths captain Josh Roberts played his first match on Friday night since leading the Tigers to last year’s grand final win over Brothers (pictured). Kate Czerny

Roberts' return takes Tigers top

ON TOP of the ladder with the captain back in good health.

Norths couldn't ask for much more at the moment.

The Tigers' 24-8 win over Swifts at the North Ipswich Reserve on Friday night took them outright top of the competition, a win clear of Brothers and Goodna.

But of greater importance to the Tigers was the healthy return of captain Josh Roberts, who got through his first game since last year's grand final triumph unscathed.

"Two points always helps," Roberts said after the game, when asked how he felt.

He admitted to some apprehension about making his long-awaited comeback.

"I was a bit nervous today," Roberts said.

"It was good it was on a Friday, so I could go to work and didn't have to think about it.''

There were a couple of noticeable differences since people last saw Roberts on a footy field.

He was not wearing the characteristic head-gear and he was starting at fullback, where he has never played before, rather than five-eighth.

The reason was to accommodate 2015 recruits Brendon Lindsay at five-eighth and Brendon Marshall (also successfully making his return from injury on Friday) at centre.

Roberts is happy to play fullback to accommodate the others.

It could prove a nightmare for rivals however, with Roberts showing enough to suggest he will be dangerous to handle once he gets used to the position.

"It was a lot easier," Roberts said of wearing the number one jersey.

"You don't have to make tackles.

"There were a few times I didn't know where to be."

The Tigers led 12-0 at halftime, but the match deteriorated in the second half with both sides struggling to hang onto the ball.

"We went well in the first half," Roberts said.

"But we lost our way a bit in the second.

"That comes a bit on a dewy night, especially when they're putting hits on, and they were."

Before the match one area Swifts looked to have a potential advantage was up front, through Ray Schuster, Tele Salesa, John Umaga and Zeb Nuuola.

But Norths held their own in the centre, with veteran Brad Oddi justifying his elevation to the starting line-up with good metres every time he ran the ball.

"They defended really well on the edges so we had to go through the middle," Roberts said.

KEY RESULTS

  • A grade: Norths 28 def Swifts 8, Goodna 32 def West End 22.
  • IRL ladder: Norths 12, Brothers 10, Goodna 10, West End 6, Swifts 6, Fassifern 4.

 



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