Wobbly Eagles not in flap yet
FOR Goodna, the 2014 season has quickly gone from cruising in second gear to strap on your seat-belts.
The Eagles take on Fassifern in the final round of fixtures tomorrow at Woogaroo Field.
It is a preview of what will likely be the following week's elimination semi-final between third and fourth.
Of the four teams headed for finals, Goodna takes the worst form into the final round with three successive losses.
Only a month ago, they looked the likely minor premiers.
But Goodna forward Sione Piutau is not concerned, believing drastic improvement is close.
The Eagles' backrow has been disrupted by the absence of lock Max Seumanutafa for a month.
They were also missing the suspended Liu Faamate in last weekend's loss to Norths and will likely be without Piutau against Fassifern tomorrow at Goodna as he rests a swollen knee.
But by next weekend, with all back on deck, Piutau expects the Eagles to be a different side.
"We just need to regroup and get back to basics," Piutau said.
"I think our discipline kills us a bit as well."
Piutau is probably the most regularly sin-binned player currently in the IRL and spent two stints there last weekend.
One was for swearing at the ref and the other for a shoulder charge. "The first one I put the ball down for a try and the ref said 'no try'," Piutau said. "And I said 'you'll be ....ing kidding'.
Piutau felt hard done by because he didn't call the ref by a swear word, just used one in the sentence protesting the decision.
It is hardly a rare occurrence in Ipswich footy.
"They've just got to be consistent because you don't want the ref to decide the game," Piutau said. "The second was a shoulder charge, but I didn't think you'd get sin-binned for a shoulder charge."
Now he knows he can't afford to do it again.
"If we tighten up on discipline and hold on to the ball, we're a strong chance," he said.
The Eagles have let a top-two spot, and with it a second chance should they lose in the opening round of finals, slip from their grasp.
But Piutau believes it will work in his team's favour.
He expects sudden-death to bring them out of their recent lethargy, which Piutau attributed to having no pressure on to make the finals for some time.
"We've been cruising," he conceded.
"If we'd had that problem at the start of the season, it would have been a worry. I reckon finishing third will be good for us.
"We'll know what we need to do.''
Wins are vital to the top four A-grade sides to head into finals in form. Brothers and Norths play out-of-the running Swifts and West End, while Goodna versus Fassifern shapes as a preview of what is to come in the first week of finals.
- Tomorrow: Brother Seery Park - Brothers v Swifts (A grade 3pm, Reserve grade 1.30pm, U19 noon).
- Woogaroo Field: Goodna v Fassifern (A grade 3pm, Reserve grade 1.30pm); U19 - Goodna v Valleys noon.
- Daniels Park: West End v Norths (A grade 3pm, Reserve grade 1.30pm); U19 - West End v Eastern Cobras noon.