POWERFUL: Goodna player Albert Junior Ma Chong charges into the opposition.
POWERFUL: Goodna player Albert Junior Ma Chong charges into the opposition. Rob Williams

Goodna wary of youthful Fassifern

FRESH coming off Easter and the bye, the Goodna Eagles face Fassifern on Sunday at Hayes Oval.

Coach Corey Kirk said his side had used the period to rehabilitate niggling injuries and enjoy some time away from the game with family and friends.

"We had a few battered bodies,” he said. "There were a couple of injuries, so the break has been very timely.”

Despite the rest, Goodna will still be without several first graders for the clash with the Bombers.

However, the Eagles have been blessed with great depth this season and Kirk is excited to present opportunities to up-and-comers like promising under-20s five-eighth Codey Hazard.

Kirk said he had been keeping an eye on Hazard for a while and he expected the playmaker to hold his own and express his unique style of play.

"Codey has been playing great footy,” he said.

"He is a very good young player.

"We have a good culture and all the teams are going really well, which gives me a lot of options when it comes to selections.”

After a full round of competition, the Eagles sit atop the league equal with Brothers on 19 points.

The side's only loss came against the Brethren in round five, falling to a 21-10 defeat to the Raceview club away from home.

"We're going well,” Kirk said. "There is a long way to go but I'm happy with the efforts of my players.

"We know week-to-week we need to keep getting better and working on the areas that we've identified where we can be stronger.

"We're getting good numbers at training and the effort is there, so from a coaching perspective I cannot ask for much more.”

Kirk said the Eagles had defended stoically during their early-season games but lacked fluency with the ball in hand.

"Our attack feels clunky,” he said. "There is not any great rhythm to it.

"We haven't been able to build pressure and get back-to-back sets, not the way I want them to do it anyway. So attack is our priority.

"Defence keeps us in it but we have to be able to score points to win.”

Kirk said although Goodna's halves were playing their first season of Rugby League Ipswich A-Grade and taking some time to adapt, he was confident they would improve.

"I wanted to give them some time to get used to the competition - to understand the style and tempo,” he said.

"I'm really looking for them to progress throughout the second round.”

The Eagles shot down the Bombers 48-12 in the opening round but will adopt a circumspect approach against an enthusiastic Fassifern outfit led by seasoned campaigners Mitchell Range and Jacob Lindsay.

"It is the one road trip that I get a little bit anxious about,” former long-term A-Grader Kirk said.

"You drive out there and it is like a spell has come over you, and all of a sudden you're lethargic and struggling to get through your work.

"We won't be underestimating them.

"We'll give them the respect they deserve.

"They are not going to just give us the win.”

Tom Bushnell