Gladiators sharpen up at rugby 10s
GOODNA have put the Suburban Rugby Union competition on notice with an emphatic win on the weekend.
One of eight teams to take part in Saturday's inaugural preseason rugby 10s tournament at Woodend Park, the Gladiators defeated Caboolture to claim their first piece of silverware in 2017.
What made the victory even more impressive for head coach Walter Seupule, was the club's lack of game time in the lead-up to the competition.
"That was our first game of the season,” Seupule admitted. "We've been unlucky with trying to get numbers together for our preseason games and it looks like we'll start the season without having played one.
"It was a great team effort on Saturday and the boys have really improved since last year.”
Runners up in last year's Helensvale 7s tournament, Goodna have excelled in the shorter format competitions.
With the Barber and Pegg Cup competitions set to kick-off at the end of the month, Seupule said his attempts at picking a captain had backfired.
"I was using Saturday to try and find my captain,” he said. "I used four different guys during the tournament to find who was best suited to the role.
"It only made it worse because they were all good.”
If the Goodna coach can't decide on a captain, he could always nominate himself.
With 10 years experience as a rugby union and rugby league coach, Seupule returned to the field on Saturday to play alongside his charges.
"I just came on to kick the conversions and then went off again,” he laughed. "We took a squad of 19 and I was just playing as an extra.
"I played the last couple of years at Springfield before Goodna gave me the call at the end of last season and asked if I wanted to come coach.
"I've been doing a lot of coaching with the Queensland Samoan rugby league team since I last coached Goodna in the Scotney Cup in 2013. The game has changed but you have to adapt.”
Now back at his former club, Seupule wants to turn Goodna into a real force in 2017.
"Everybody knows that Goodna have had the skills and the players to win,” he said. "It's just been trying to get the right attitude.
"I really want to turn the club into a community club where everyone comes along and supports the players. We've got between 40-50 players at training and there's some good boys in there.
"They certainly used their pace and strength on the weekend.”
The tournament on Saturday was a great success for hosts, the Ipswich Rangers. With two teams entered in the competition, Ipswich were knocked out in the semi-final by reigning Barber Cup premiers Caboolture.
Despite the tournament pushed back a week due to heavy rain, Rangers president Jason Dutton said he hoped the contest would give Queensland selectors a chance to see the talent on offer in Ipswich.
"It gives the state selectors an opportunity to see a host of players in one area,” Dutton said. "We only had one player selected for Queensland last year so hopefully we can get a few more in there this time around.”
Ipswich and Goodna will start their 2017 campaigns on April 29, with both club's to play the first round of Barber and Pegg Cup games at their respective home grounds.