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*** DO NOT CHANGE THIS CROP *** It is intended as a generic image for rugby league and rugby union stories. David Nielsen

Swifts have a taste of grand final atmosphere

SWIFTS are so close to a grand final appearance, they can almost touch it.

Almost everything points to them beating Goodna at the North Ipswich Reserve on Sunday to progress to the decider against Brothers next week.

There is just the not-so-small matter of Goodna to deal with first.

But for Swifts captain Sherrick Hemopo, the Bluebirds need only focus on themselves to give them the best chance of advancing.

"We've just been focusing on us," the halfback said.

"We know they've got a big, strong forward pack and will be coming hard.

"Hopefully we can get them in the last 20 minutes of each half."

Hemopo is confident they can, having beaten Goodna last time they met and pushing Brothers all the way in last weekend's semi-final.

It is not the physical side of things he is worried about.

"We're getting really close," he said when asked if Swifts were about to peak.

"I thought we had Brothers there.

"We just lacked the mental side."

As captain and halfback, Hemopo sees his job as driving on his forwards throughout the match and keeping his team positive.

"My focus is on directing our forward pack," the halfback said.

"Getting the talk up and keeping our boys focused."

The 24-year-old rigger moved to Queensland from Sydney last year to be closer to family.

At the start of this season, he attended Ipswich Jets' training where he met five-eighth Josh Cleeland.

When Cleeland decided to join Swifts, Hemopo went with him.

It is a decision neither has regretted, with Hemopo earning the captaincy and Cleeland the IRL player of the year award.

"It was a very good decision," Hemopo said.

"I knew Swifts were struggling last year so I thought I'd come and try to help.

"It was a whole new team but I knew we had a good team.

"It was just about gelling."



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