The Norths Tigers are looking to celebrate claiming another big scalp in Saturday’s grand final against Goodna, having overpowered Toowoomba Valleys in the semi-final. Picture: Bruce Clayton
The Norths Tigers are looking to celebrate claiming another big scalp in Saturday’s grand final against Goodna, having overpowered Toowoomba Valleys in the semi-final. Picture: Bruce Clayton

19 tenacious Tigers inspired to win for proud Ipswich club

PLAYING against one of the best Goodna sides he has seen, Norths coach Mick Newton knows his injury-depleted team has a massive task to win Saturday's grand final.

However, as loyal Ipswich rugby league followers will recall, beware the wounded Tiger.

Norths will be without some key players for the 3pm Volunteers Cup clash at the North Ipswich Reserve.

"Big loss'' Jacob Stephan is out with a calf injury sustained in last weekend's semi-final win over Toowoomba Valleys.

Consistent frontrunner Lopi Folau is still out with an ankle injury and Anava Fesolai has been battling tonsillitis.

He'll be given until Saturday to see if the antibiotics bring him enough relief to play.

"We're juggling a few but we have a couple on reserve to see what we need to be able to fill,'' Newton said.

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Norths coach Mick Newton
Norths coach Mick Newton

While all that sounds daunting for the Tigers, Newton retains faith in his extended group of players who have served the club so well this season.

"We've got full confidence in the squad we are putting out,'' he said.

"We've had tremendous support from a lot of boys, showing up week in, week out without some boys not even getting into the game.

"They are all a good bunch of boys so we've had a good following. They've all been nice and close.''

That's why the Ipswich coaching stalwart is motivating his side with a timely message.

"We've got 19 on the park but those 19 will be playing for the club and the 30-40 boys that have been training every night,'' he said.

The Tigers used similiar club emotion to become to only team to upset Goodna in their earlier round clash at Norths ground.

The added motivation for Norths on Saturday comes from winning for players like captain Chris Scanlan and centre Tonga Mounga. They could be lining up in in their final A-Grade match for the Tigers.

"They are looking at accolades for the team rather than themselves, which is good,'' the respected coach said.

Newton wants the Tigers to savour victory against a Goodna team that has set the standard.

"They are worthy of being the favourites in this comp because they have been the benchmark all year,'' Newton said.

"They are probably one of the better Goodna sides I've ever seen.

"They are big and strong and also they are very fast and skilful.''

But as Newton and his senior players know, finals often provide unexpected twists.

"This is not fixtures. This is a final so things happen in finals,'' he said.

"Those opportunities come. You want to take them.''