TOWERING TEAM: Swifts under-19 players form a celebratory huddle after yesterday’s win over Goodna.
TOWERING TEAM: Swifts under-19 players form a celebratory huddle after yesterday’s win over Goodna. Kate Czerny

Swifts' teens cap perfect season

THERE was no denying Swifts their perfect season in the Ipswich Rugby League under-19 grand final against Goodna.

Swifts were chasing an undefeated season while Goodna had a mountain to climb after getting flogged by the same opponent in the qualifying final.

Goodna showed plenty of pluck but could not stop the Bluebirds' juggernaut securing a 44-20 win.

For Swifts captain John Cucca, it was reward for a decade's service to the Bluebirds, making up for all the tough times.

"I've played in teams that have had to forfeit because we didn't have the numbers," Cucca said.

"I'm overwhelmed.

"Winning a grand final, especially with an undefeated season, is an amazing feeling."

The perfect season wasn't sealed with the perfect game, by any means. But Swifts had too much class when it mattered most, despite Cucca admitting the pressure of finishing undefeated affected his team.

"The day got to us," Cucca said.

"We went away from our game plan a little."

Swifts started the grand final like they'd finished their 46-4 qualifying final win over Goodna a fortnight earlier, crossing twice in the opening six minutes to lead 12-0.

Goodna hit back following a charge-down by Jordan Bani-Burke, then a try to winger Soolefall Fale to trail 12-10 with 10 minutes of the first half remaining.

The Faitotoa brothers then made their mark for Swifts.

A storming run by second rower Faitotoa Faitotoa was followed by Matthew Faitotoa dummying his way through untouched.

But when Fale flew high to drag down a kick and score his second with 30 seconds before the break, Goodna went into the sheds trailing 18-14.

Goodna knew they had to play error-free footy to push Swifts in the second half.

An error following a scrum 5m from the Eagles' line three minutes into the second half was asking for trouble.

Sure enough, Swifts made them pay. A try to huge prop Se-e Kali gave the Bluebirds breathing space and a 24-14 lead.

Both sides blew good field position before the Faitotoa brothers did it again, Matthew scoring after his Brother had skittled the Goodna defence and Swifts led 28-14 with 14 minutes left.

Goodna followed that with a kick-off out on the full.

Goodna's Paul Iopu was sinbinned a minute later and from the next set, Se'e Kali crossed for his second try and Goodna's fate was sealed.

Fale's late try gave him a hat-trick but it was little consolation as Swifts scored twice more in the final five minutes.

Winger Michael Molloy crossed for his second try before Faitotoa Faitotoa fittingly ended the match with a 40m run to score and give his team a 44-20 win.

State of play

Under-19 grand final: Swifts 44 (Michael Molloy 2, Matthew Faitotoa 2, Se'e Kali 2, Cory Schaffer, Faitotoa Faitotoa tries; Jack Arrowsmith 5, Cory Schaffer goals) def Goodna 20 (Soolefall Fale 3, Jordan Bani-Burke tries; Tristan Sami 2 goals).

Key moments: 24th and 54th minutes. With the match drifting in each half, Faitotoa Faitotoa led the way with a couple of rampaging charges. Matthew Faitotoa knows his brother well, choosing those moments to follow up his brother and slicing through the defence for two tries. Matthew claimed man-of-the-match honours, but could well have shared the award with his brother.



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