Family's extra motivation
FASSIFERN'S Landon and Michael Hayes will play together for the last time in the hope of securing their widely-adored uncle a premiership.
Entrenched in the small but resilient community, the footballing cousins bleed maroon and white.
Their granddad donated the land where the Bombers' home base lies and their family name has been immortalised with the ground dubbed Hayes Oval.
Mid-way through the season, Landon, 24, was playing Premier rugby union for Easts in Brisbane.
Having secured a contract to play rugby professionally for Stirling County, he was due to depart three weeks ago.
But when the pair found out that Michael's father, Mark, was battling illness, he committed to return to the Bombers' reserve grade line-up to play alongside his relative.
Playing rugby on Saturday and backing up on Sunday for the Bombers, Landon played enough games to qualify before orchestrating last week's thrilling victory with three tries.
The former Ipswich Jet said he had always been close with his cousin and the grand final represented more than just a game for the lifelong best mates.
"I thought I'd push the flights back and try to win Mark a premiership with Michael,” Landon said.
"He has done everything for me.
"Growing up he made all of the Queensland sides and I idolised him.
"He is one of the most talented players I've played with or against. He could have gone all of the way if he had wanted to pursue football seriously.
"It is a different feeling running onto the field knowing he has got my back all of the way to the very end.”
Landon said he did not often think about the fact he lent his name to the field at Fassifern but upon reflection he rated it a massive a honour and privilege.
"We live and breathe Fassifern,” he said.
"Our family has been linked to the club for generations.
"I'd love to win one for the club and family.”
Captain/coach Michael said the team had been building towards its premiership goal for two years and was determined to make it a reality.
"I believe we can do it,” he said.
"It is just a matter of doing it.”
Michael said rugby league was a way of life in the close-knit small town of Fassifern and players acutely felt the backing of supporters.
"You can't walk anywhere without somebody talking about the footy,” he said.
"We have the best supporters in the competition.
"The club is aiming to get as many supporters to turn up as possible.
"The can bar should be a sea of maroon and white.”
Michael said adhering to the game plan, ball control, controlling nerves, continually turning up and trusting the player next to each other would be paramount.
"I wish there was some secret written down somewhere,” he said.
"It would be nice to know.
"You have got all of these people supporting you. But you have to not think about all of those people.
"You have to think about the 17 men beside you and not let the occasion get the better of you.”
While Fassifern A-grade gets assistance from imported players at times, the reserve graders are predominantly homegrown products.
Michael said some of his players had been great mates for more than 20 years and it would mean everything to them to upstage Goodna and take a well-earned title.
Michael has won an A-grade final but Landon is yet to claim a title in the top grade.
After what he hopes is a long and prosperous career in European Rugby, he plans to reunite with Michael and his younger brother William "Pottsy” at Fassifern and take out the premiership.