NUMBER ONE: Grand final winning Brothers captain Wes Conlon.
NUMBER ONE: Grand final winning Brothers captain Wes Conlon. Rob Williams

Check out Ipswich's rugby league 'team of the year'


THE Rugby League Ipswich season is over, won superbly by Brothers over Swifts.

It's awards night tonight at the North Ipswich Reserve function centre where the best players of the season will be crowned in A Grade, Reserve Grade and Under 20.

Other accolades will be handed out like coach, volunteer, sports trainer, representative, try scorer and points scorer of the year awards.

Here's my RLI Team of the Year.

1. Fullback: Wes Conlon (Brothers). The captain was a standout for the entire season and favourite for tonight's big award. He scored tries, kicked goals and led Brothers to many victories this season. His performance in the grand final was awesome and a worthy man-of-the-match winner.

2. Winger: Ono So'oialo (Goodna). He started the season on the wing and played a lot of fullback. As the season got longer he started to light the RLI up. He scored some super four-pointers this year and was safe under the high ball.

3. Centre: Brett Kelly (Goodna). This man was an excitement machine whenever he ran the ball. He's light on his feet and has an abundance of pace, which enabled him to cross the line many times. He's also a very good goal kicker and a safe defender.

4. Centre: Ricki Mato (Swifts). His size and pace enabled him to terrorise other centres with ball in hand and was a strong defender. An under-rated performer who had a solid season and gave some great ball to his wingers.

5. Winger: Godfrey Okot (Redbank). One of the most exciting runners of the ball. He scored a heap of tries this year with his blistering pace and when in open pasture not a lot of players could catch him.

6. Five-eighth: Farren Willett (Redbank). Had a very strong year leading the Bears' backline around the park. The Bears went on a long unbeaten run in the middle of the season and he was front and centre in a lot of these wins. He can kick goals as well.

7. Halfback: Chris Ash (Brothers). The most dominant half in the competition who showed on many occasions why he has played at a high level. His vision was good and his long passing and kicking won Brothers a lot of games. He has a calm approach to the game and it rubbed off on his fellow players.

8. Front rower: Jake O'Doherty (Swifts). One of the premier front rowers in the competition who also leads from the front giving 100% every game. He led the Swifts forward with some big charges into the opposition defensive line and was a big reason that they surged into the grand final.

9. Hooker: Aiden Boyce (West End). He was the heart and soul of the Bulldogs this year. The tireless performer is a strong defender with a great passing game.

10. Frontrower: Josh Afoa (Brothers). He started the season on fire with several strong charges. His defence was great and not a lot of players ran straight at him. He has a big motor to be one of the first players picked in my team.

11. Second rower: Ethan Page (Norths). Had a great season in a youthful Tigers forward pack. He charges the ball hard and is an elusive runner of the ball outwide. He was a strong defender and one of Norths' best players this year.

12. Second rower: Hala Masila (Swifts). Had a great season for the Bluebirds with some strong runs. His size and pace was a defender's nightmare and often broke the first tackle. His defence was also strong and his work rate was exceptional.

13. Lock: Robert Kennedy (Brothers). This man knows how to tackle. His technique is great and attackers tried to avoid running at him when possible. With a good work rate, he had a great first year in the RLI competition.

14. Reserve: Zac Lemberg (Goodna). This man only knows one way to run and that's straight and hard. He gave his all every time he pulled the Eagles jersey on.

15. Reserve: Ratu Vatuinaruku (Swifts). A strong runner of the ball who scored a plethora of tries. He was also one of the best goal kickers in the league.

16. Reserve: Mahe Paseka (Fassifern). The big man had another strong season and was the go-forward man in the Bombers forward pack. His defence was strong and was a Fassifern forward who tried every game to take it to the opposition.

17. Reserve: Kelepi Faukafa (West End). A tireless worker in the Bulldogs forward pack. Defence is his best attribute and he cleaned up a lot of defenders around the ruck.

Coach: Jason Connors (Brothers). Got the nod after leading Brothers to grand final glory. Has a great football brain and knows where the opposition's weaknesses are. His team had a few lulls during the season but they didn't last long with Connors rectifying the problem quickly.

Honorable mentions: Steve West, Jarrod Biggs, Anava Fesolai, Dylan Martin (Norths); Michael Saili-Motu, John Maila (Brothers); Ray Baira, Jamie Malinko, AJ Machong (Goodna); Jake Hooper, Mitchell Range (Fasssifern); Tepatasi Fuiava (West End); Robbie Fletcher, Zeb Nuuola, Derek Hemopo (Swifts); Maseiga Masia Teomatavui, Andrew Vella (Redbank).

Quick thoughts


SAINTS: 1. The Aussie cricketers may have lost the 5th Test but the objective of the tour was to bring the Ashes home and that's exactly what they did. Thank you Steve Smith. You were simply brilliant.

2. The NSW Swifts in their defeat of the more fancied Sunshine Coast Lightning in the Super Netball grand final. No-one gave them much of a chance but they played a great game to nullify the Lightning attack.

Sinners: 1. Sam Burgess for his comments attacking the NRL. If he played within the rules, he wouldn't be spending as much time on the sidelines.

2. Broncos coach Anthony Siebold for failing to apologise for the disgraceful performance put in by his team. The fans deserved something.

Did you know? 1. Richmond Tigers Dustin Martin polled 36 votes to win the 2017 Brownlow Medal. This is the highest total since the introduction of the 3/2/1 voting system.

2. Only four players have won the Brownlow three times - Haydn Bunton Snr, Dick Reynolds, Bob Skilton and Ian Stewart.

Bombers's best: I tipped the four favourites in last week's NRL semi-finals but only the Roosters and Eels saluted.

This week, it's the AFL finals and I see the mighty Tigers and Magpies progressing into the grand final.