O'Doherty inspires Swifts
SWIFTS came from behind to topple competition frontrunners Brothers 28-24 in an A-Grade nail-biter at Brother Seery Park this afternoon.
Down 18-6 at the break, the Bluebirds regrouped to put on a string of tries in the second forty and upstage an understrength Brethren on their home turf.
"I'm pretty bloody happy,” declared elated Bluebirds' coach Damian O'Donohue following the victory.
"Both teams played really well. It was a really good battle.”
Led by former Brothers' player Jake O'Doherty, who continually charged into and skittled his old teammates, Swifts stuck to their game plan, pleasing O'Donohue.
"We did everything we said we wanted to do,” he said.
"We wanted to change our angles in attack and push from the inside out on defence.
"Brothers like their inside runners and they are very crafty. They caught us out a couple of times but we fixed it at half-time.
"Jake O'Doherty had an absolute blinder.”
O'Donohue was also full of praise for winger Pat Samatua, second rower Tele Salesa and hooker Jacob Sinn but he said his team knew Brothers were missing plenty of strike and would not get carried away with the result.
"We said that straight after the game,” he said. "It was a good solid win but we know we can do a lot better.”
Meanwhile, in Saturday night's game Redbank Plains overcame a gallant Fassifern at home 38-16.
Fielding their strongest line-up so far this season, with several key men returning from injury, the Bears overpowered the youthful but resilient Bombers.
After skipping out to a 12-0 lead, Redbank Plains bombed two prime scoring chances prior to the break.
"We need to learn to be patient when we are near the try line and not try to score at ever opportunity,” coach John Leota said. "If we are patient and don't try to push the pass and score off every set, the tries will come.”
Returning to the field after half-time, the Bears continued to turn the screws and extend their advantage but the mobile Bombers refused to relent without a fight.
"They lost a lot of key players from last year's premiership side but they are a good young team,” Leota said.
"Roosy is doing a great job with his players.
"They have a smaller pack but they were quick.”
The Bears' mentor said he was pleased with his team's overall performance despite a lapse in discipline late in the game which allowed the Bombers to cross for several consolation tries.
"We stuck to the game plan,” Leota said.
"We were structured.
"We defended well.
"Our line speed was good and we worked hard.
"But our discipline went out the window in the last 20 minutes and we let in a couple of silly tries.
"I'm very disappointed in our final 20 minutes, so that is something we will need to work on.”
Standouts for Redbank Plains included instrumental halfback and vice-captain Farran Willett, tireless lock Toby Campbell, dangerous centres Tulituli Leota and Michael Pouhila, and Ambrose Fenn who was strong playing in the front row for the first time.
Encouraged by the confidence-building result, Leota believes the Bears have the firepower to defeat the competition's top guns.
"We know we can match it with Brothers and Goodna, so we need to start showing it on the field,” he said.
"Our aim is to continue to build and better ourselves each week.”
Redbank Plains will now turn its attention to preparing for its round eight blockbuster against Swifts, with Leota hoping Brothers handed the Bluebirds a resolve-shattering hiding in today's clash.
"We look forward to the challenge of taking on Swifts next week.
"We don't usually worry about our opposition.
"We'll prepare ourselves and it depends what we put on the table - it's up to us.
"I hope Brothers smash the daylight out of them this afternoon,” Leota said on Sunday morning.
Redbank Plains Rugby League Club wished A-Grade manager Laurie Campbell a memorable 60th birthday.
In today's other A-Grade game, Norths upset West End 40-16.