Tigers primed to pounce for title
NORTHS coach Mick Newton has hailed his side's 31-18 win over Goodna as their best defensive performance of the year as the Tigers surged into second spot on the IRL A-grade ladder.
The Eagles were below their best at Woogaroo Field despite having two tries disallowed.
But the Tigers, brilliantly led by five-eighth and captain Josh Roberts, deserved their win.
The victory takes Norths to 23 points, just one ahead of third-placed Goodna.
But they will be assured of second spot if they can beat West End in the final round match.
Norths started the scoring with winger Anava Fesolai streaking away down the right edge.
The Eagles equalised through captain and halfback Corey Kirk, but Goodna fullback Andrew Campbell soon regained the advantage for the Tigers when he sliced through to score.
A superb Roberts pass put Fesolai in again and the Tigers looked in control at 16-6.
A turning point came when giant Eagles second-rower Sione Piutai appeared to score, but the try was disallowed.
Piutai had a bit to say to referee Taylor Worth who then gave the Eagles' hard man 10 minutes in the sin bin, much to the displeasure of the Goodna crowd.
But Goodna reduced Norths' lead to just 16-12 at the break, courtesy of superb strength shown by winger Fili Ioane.
The second half saw Norths halfback Kane Fuller sneak over from dummy half. When centre Jarrod Biggs landed a penalty and a field goal to give the Tigers a 25-12 lead, the match was in the bag.
Both teams scored late tries and Piutai finished the match in the sheds for Goodna after he was sin-binned again for a shoulder charge.
Coach Newton was delighted with the grit displayed by his side.
"I thought that was defensively the best effort we put in all year. Our forwards really stood up," he said."We got hammered in the penalties but the boys defended really well on our line.
"They all knew what they had to play for. We had a few injuries and a few boys playing out of position, but they really defended as a unit today.
"Anava and Tonga Mounga worked together really well on the right side in attack and my other winger Matty Fairhurst came in and bent the line and took a lot of pressure off the forwards.
"Josh Roberts led by example. He is one of our best competitors every week."
Goodna captain Corey Kirk said it was an afternoon of missed opportunities.
"We probably got a few harsh calls from the ref, but the game was ours to win and we weren't good enough," he said.
"Once they get a lead, they are hard to peg back and that showed today."