Norths team forged years prior to grand final berth
WIN or lose today, Mick Newton is immensely proud of what his side has achieved this season.
And not just on the field, where they have defied outside expectation, injury, and occasional form slumps to be where they are today.
This is a Tigers team come together for season 2018 but forged many years beforehand.
"You've got a bloke like Chris Scanlan - he played at Norths as an under-6,” Newton said.
"His father coached there for years, and all his brothers have been tremendous players for the club.
"Chris played at the highest level he could - up at the Jets, in the UK . . . he's come back and had no other thought than to come back home and play the last few years (at Norths).”
Sam Martin followed a similar path.
The former Jet almost did not play this season - but the call came from Norths, and he could not resist.
"We've got boys that play with Sam at the moment that were in his wedding party,” Newton said. "They've grown up together.
"People like Moose and Chooky . . . it was just natural that if they were playing, he was playing.”
This season has been made sweeter for Martin by having his brother Dylan playing alongside him.
Newton has coached two of his sons this season as well.
"Two of my boys are playing this weekend, I see that as a real achievement,” the proud coach said.
"Having brothers playing together, it becomes a real family. The strength of all these boys to get together, they all behave as if they're one big family at the moment.”
Jarrod Biggs returned midway through the season. He told Sam Martin, "I want to come down and win a premiership with Norths”.
"The boys that have been here a long time, like Anava (Fesolai) and Tonga (Mounga), they've all rallied around each other,” Newton said.
"Biggsy coming back after leaving a couple of years ago . . . once he knew these boys were together again, he couldn't wait to get back.”
With Norths sides contesting the Under-15, 17, Reserve Grade and A-Grade grand finals today, Newton said proof of the club's ability to provide a genuine pathway from junior to senior footy was evident.
Leaving North Ipswich today with a premiership - or a few - would be icing on the cake. But the true fruits of the club's efforts have already been realised.
You need only look at the make-up of the A-Grade side to see that is the case.
"We're not there yet, we've got a lot of hard work to do (today) obviously,” Newton said. "But I do believe Norths offer a genuine pathway from juniors to seniors. Our A-Grade squad, most of those boys have played together for many years coming through the juniors together.”