O'Doherty on Goodna: 'Our biggest test'
SWIFTS showed great maturity to respond after going 12-0 down early against West End last weekend, but Jake O'Doherty says the team must be better from the first whistle if they are to defeat Goodna.
The Bluebirds travel to Woogaroo Field to take on the Eagles on Sunday.
"We had a pretty slack preparation. A few blokes got there late, and it was about 36 degrees which made it hard to get into it,” O'Doherty said of Swifts' slow start.
"But we soon clicked into motion and fought back and had a good win.
"We've pointed to this game as the biggest test for us so far. Goodna at Goodna is always really tough. They've recruited a few good lads and looking at the weekend's result (against Fassifern) they're on fire.”
Despite the heat, O'Doherty said he "felt good, felt fit” after his first match for points in a Bluebirds jersey since swapping from Brothers in the off-season.
"I was saying to one of the boys on the Thursday, it's probably the fittest I've felt going into a campaign,” he said.
"I'm pretty happy with the pre-season I've had.”
Another player who wasted no time hitting the ground in 2019 is flier Harold Mosby, who recorded a round one hat-trick in the 18-point win.
"He's looking really good again, but there's also a few smokeys,” O'Doherty added.
"Jacob Sinn is a guy I played with at the Jets. He's come back after a couple of years off and had a good game at the weekend (at hooker).
"And my little brother (Luke), he's only 20 but he stepped up really well starting at lock. He's primed for a big year.”
Bears welcome back key players
EVEN John Leota was a little shocked at the speed with which his Redbank Plains team jumped out of the blocks away to Swifts at the weekend.
The Bears shot out to an early 12-point lead, before losing fullback Godfrey Okot which Leota said stifled the visitors' go forward.
Already missing seven A-Grade starters through injury and unavailability, the Bears were valiant but ultimately fell short against the Bluebirds.
"The boys that filled in did a good job I reckon,” Leota said.
"As soon as we lost Godfrey our attack went downhill. It was just too hot for my boys being their first game.”
Prior to the match, Leota called for "110% commitment” from his players and he got exactly that.
He hopes to see much of the same when the Bears host West End at Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve tomorrow night.
"All we ask for as a coaching staff is they play for the 80 minutes. Swifts were just too strong toward the end, they ran away in the last nine minutes, but I was pleased (with the performance),” Leota said.
"We've been advertising a lot for this game as it's our first home game. Hopefully we pull a crowd and can get a win in all grades.”
Boom signing Andrew Vella is still on the comeback trail after off-season surgery, with Leota hopefully of a round 13 return "maybe earlier” for the second rower if the stars align.
However the coach said he expects four players to return to the side for tomorrow's match against a West End team he has yet to get a true measure of.
"The Bulldogs had a tough game against Brothers, I heard they did pretty well,” Leota said.
"To be honest I thought Brothers would run away with that game but West End did well. It's just one of those things where you don't know unless you see it in action.
"We'll soon find out, but I'm confident we have the team (to win) now we have some A-Graders back.”
Rugby League Ipswich Round 2
Tomorrow (6pm) - Redbank Plains Bears v West End Bulldogs at Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve
Sunday (3pm) - Goodna Eagles v Swifts Bluebirds at Woogaroo Field