Springfield's incredible team performance
WHEN a group of young footballers from different cultural backgrounds form a winning combination, it's a credit to the club and key people involved.
However, Springfield Panthers Black under 13 coach Phil Poutasi is happy to share his team's incredible success with his talented players and other club supporters.
Preparing for Saturday's 9.30am grand final against Norths Blue, Poutasi is immensely proud of what his Polynesian squad has achieved, aside from the fact they have been unbeaten and dominated the season.
"The whole squad of 19 are Polynesian kids and mixed Polynesian races as well,'' he said. "They just seem to gel.
"There's no egos, there's no superstars in the squad. They all know they each have a role to play and they do it really well.''
Poutasi and former coaches like Elton Grace have worked with the core of the side since under 6s.
"There's about 10 of my older kids that are still present in the squad, and year by year we've just taught them little things,'' Poutasi said.
"Their progression is over a period of time rather than trying to teach them everything at once. They have come along really well and the results are showing in the last two years.''
Last year the young Panthers only lost two games on their way to savouring grand final glory.
This year, the Panthers have scored nearly 700 points, being tested for the first time in their 22-16 semi-final win over Norths Gold.
"Norths Tigers have always been a strong team in this age group and even through the age groups, they are quite a strong club,'' Poutasi said.
But former team manager Poutasi said winning was a bonus for the dedicated players he's overseeing.
"The boys love it. They love football,'' he said. "They are constantly ringing me seeing if there's extra training sessions.
"We do something to relax them and have some fun.
"It's not always about the game. It's about the enjoyment of each other's company.''
The coach's son PJ, who plays lock, has been captain since under 10s.
"He's fortunate enough to make rep squads in both union and league,'' the proud dad said. "He's got a good head on his shoulders.''
The team is managed by Kent Weastell, who is learning the ropes in junior footy.
Poutasi said having the kids playing rugby league together was great for the Springfield area.