TOP TWO: Goodna (above) and Brothers (right) have emerged as grand final favourites following the weekend’s Ipswich Rugby League results.
TOP TWO: Goodna (above) and Brothers (right) have emerged as grand final favourites following the weekend’s Ipswich Rugby League results. Sarah Harvey

High-flying Brothers, Goodna set standard in IRL race

BROTHERS and Goodna have confirmed themselves as grand final favourites after round nine of the Ipswich Rugby League.

Fassifern served to remind everyone they are not a spent force while Swifts and Norths were shown how much they need to improve to be considered contenders.

Brothers beat Norths 30-10 at home, Fassifern thumped West End 56-4 at Harrisville and Goodna outclassed Swifts at Purga 32-16.

The Eagles started like a well-tuned machine, scorching over for three tries in the opening 10 minutes.

For the first try Goodna carved Swifts open on the left.

Next they broke through the equally porous right-side defence for their second try.

The third came after Swifts fullback Willis Hodges-Grant ran too close to the sideline with his kick return and was barrelled into touch.

It was 18-0 after 15 minutes and 24-4 at half-time.

When Goodna scored their fourth try, Swifts coach Lee Addison hooked Hodges-Grant, just as he'd done Stephen O'Donohue when he wore the number 1 jersey against Norths last month.

The second half was more of an arm wrestle, with regular errors preventing either side playing high percentage rugby.

Swifts did well to hold on for the 10 minutes Vinny Stephan spent in the sin-bin for holding the feet of a Goodna player trying to play the ball.

It was ironic given worse had been ignored and Goodna had been blatantly slowing down the Swifts play-the-ball all game.

But even with 13 back on the field Swifts could not go with Goodna, who eased away for a comfortable win.

"It's hard for us to try and keep the intensity for long periods," Goodna halfback Sione Faumuina said.

"Especially when we run away with it early on. It was the same against Fassifern."

When the intensity was high Goodna only had to keep it simple to prosper.

"It's just basic footy," Faumuina said. "Since coming to the club with Dave (fellow former NRL player and Kiwi International David Solomona) we've added our own little touches.

"We haven't tried to change the way Goodna plays.

"But we've been trying little things and they've been coming off. I still think there's a lot of improvement left.

"We're still trying to find our feet.

"It's only the second time in the halves with me and Dave (Heketoa)."

Faumuina rated Goodna prop Alex Tafli and fullback Vili Leaunoa as his team's best on the day.

Faumuina is the biggest halfback you will see, at 187cm and over 100kg.

He was moved there when Eagles captain William Oloitoa was suspended but hasn't discounted staying there once Oloitoa is back.

He has played halfback in the NRL, for the Warriors in 2004 against the Sydney Roosters.

It was, no doubt, a more testing assignment than yesterday.

The Swifts props, Tele Salesa and Cornwell Pearson, in particular, can feel hard done by.

They were their team's best but too often there was no one to back them up after they'd done the hard yards. "I was disgusted with our attitude," Swifts coach Lee Addison said.

"I said we weren't the real deal at the start of the year.

"That there was a lot of work to do and that was proven today."

Addison accused his players of wanting to play commentator, ref and coach, due to their preference to offer advice on the field rather than get on with their job.

"When we play as a team we're fine," he said. "But for some reason in the last few weeks, the Brothers game aside, we didn't."

Addison also praised Goodna, conceding their go-forward and ability to off-load posed more questions than his team could answer.

"If I was their coach I'd be pretty happy," he said. "We didn't curb their go-forward. We allowed them to offload and the boys went off what I said."

KEY RESULTS

  • Brothers 30 d Norths 10
  • Goodna 32 d Swifts 16
  • Fassifern 56 d West End 4


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