Goodna, the entertainers, finish day of top footy in style
AFTER the shock of missing last year's grand final, the Goodna Eagles are back and threatening to be this year's rugby league entertainers.
In past seasons, Goodna has fielded many explosive backs in the Ipswich A-Grade competition.
Now it's the turn of the next generation to carry on some fine Eagles attacking traditions.
On Goodna's latest second half try-scoring onslaught, the future looks promising.
With a batch of under-18 players representing the club in the Volunteers Cup competition, Goodna opened their 10-week campaign in style.
The Eagles turned on the afterburners after trailing 14-10 at halftime to complete a dazzling 38-18 victory over Toowoomba rivals Valleys at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Head coach Alistair Taua'aletoa was upbeat when asked what he told his players at the break.
"We just said we need to stop turning over the ball so much. We shot ourselves in the foot there,'' he said.
"We probably gave them too much possession and that's why we put ourselves under the pump.''
His message worked.
Goodna's second half was sensational.
"We've got a lot of young guys playing this year so I didn't want to stifle their natural talent,'' Taua'aletoa said.
"The natural thing was just to play and try and use the ball as much as we can.''
The Eagles took a 16-14 lead straight after the break and never looked back, scoring four unanswered tries.
With an appreciative crowd enjoying their electrifying antics, the Eagles looked a side every bit capable of causing some major damage to rivals in the new-look competition.
"There were some real gems there,'' the coach said.
Centre Elone Taufa played a starring role, as did halfback Tristan Sami who with 120kg behind him, showcased his massive fend as he dashed down the sideline eager to score.
Long-time club supporter Taua'aletoa rated fullback Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga "probably our best''.
He also praised the effort of Mika Iakopo, who played lock coming off the bench.
"I thought he was really impressive today,'' Taua'aletoa said.
"He definitely changed the momentum there at the back end of the first half.''
That was a seesawing affair before Goodna unleashed its firepower.
Only for some offline goal kicking, the winning margin could easily have been 30 points.
Apart from a few sore and battered bodies, the Eagles will be ready to fly high again in the second round against Norths, who beat Gatton 48-12.
West End pushed Toowoomba champions Souths all the way, only going down 32-30 in the second match of an exciting day of rugby league.
"It will be good to see what the competition offers and we'll move on,'' Taua'aletoa said.
"Souths and probably West End are early favourites.
"We'll pay each team the respect they deserve.''
Goodna 38 (Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 2, Fili Ioane 2, Wilson Malaesilia, Elone Taufa, John Maila tries; Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 4 goals) defeated Valleys 14 (Travis Turnbull 2, Aaron Hooper tries; Daniel Bain goal).