Respect, fresh approach and thanks as Goodna eye finals
BEING the competition pacesetters and having rested some key players, Goodna head coach Alistair Taua'aletoa was just happy to secure a last-round win.
The Eagles had to unleash their trademark second half firepower to overcome Souths 34-14 after trailing at Cahill Park.
"It was a messy game,'' Taua'aletoa said.
"Souths really put it to us early on and were leading at halftime. But the boys rallied in the second half to make sure that we had a tidy record leading into finals.''
That is an impressive nine victories from 10 matches in the inaugural Volunteers Cup series between Ipswich and Toowoomba competition sides.
Among the players Taua'aletoa rested were scoring machine Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga and Tommy Sau.
In Saturday's encounter, consistent centre Elone Taufa was one of Goodna's best along with winger Chris Schwalger who the coach said had "probably gone through the tournament a bit under the radar'.
"But he was very good for us yesterday,'' Taua'aletoa said.
Player of the match Fa'ata'ape Timai scored two late four-pointers, being particularly influential in the second half when the Eagles ran in five unanswered tries.
David Lopu was also dangerous each time he touched the ball.
Ipswich State High Langer Cup co-captain Deijion Leugaimafa also scored for Goodna.
The Eagles can now refocus on this weekend's semi-final against a resurgent West End after the Bulldogs held out Norths Tigers 24-16 in the second game at Gatton.
Although Goodna is the benchmark team with multiple scoring options, Taua'aletoa was cautious about his next opponent as he began semi-final preparations.
"I've always said from the get-go that West End would be a threat,'' the Eagles mentor said.
"They pushed us pretty hard along with Valleys this year so we have to pay them the respect that they deserve.
"They've got some really quality players available to them . . . so we're not taking them lightly.''
Round 10 hosts Gatton lost their final match of the competition 25-18 to Valleys.
That means Goodna will play West End at 5pm after Norths and Valleys face off in the 3pm semi-final at the North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday.
Taua'aletoa thanked the Toowoomba sides for their contribution to the inaugural intercity series where all three Ipswich sides made the finals.
"It shows the strength of the Ipswich comp but at the same time, we are just grateful that the Toowomba sides were willing to come and make sure it was a strong competition for us to compete in,'' Taua'aletoa said.
The Eagles coach welcomed the semi-finals being back at North Ipswich Reserve after Goodna and Gatton hosted carnival-style rounds the past two weeks.
"It's a really nice venue so the boys are looking forward to it,'' the Eagles coach said.
"We're just grateful that it's a five o'clock game so it's a little bit cooler since it's leading into the summer months now.
"The boys aren't too used to playing this late in the season but that's a different challenge for us as well.''
STATE OF PLAY
Volunteers Cup Rd 10: Goodna 34 (Fa'ata'ape Timai 2, David Lopu, Deijion Leugaimafa, Elone Taufa, Ramon Filipine, Leevai Sutton tries; Leevai Sutton 2 Chris Schwalger goals) defeated Souths 14 (Jaren Bender, Nat Jones, Braydon Wilson tries; Jaren Bender goal).
West End 24 (Bernard Mosby 2, Maxwell Fesolai, Jesse Zampech, Lisite Hafoka tries; Bernard Mosby, Regan Wilde goal) defeated Norths 16 (Amazaiya Lepolo, Luke Self, Ty Humphries tries; Lachlan Williamson 2 goals).
Valleys 25 (Chris Chalmers, Dwayne Duncan, Josh Chappell, Ben Cook tries; Josh Chappell 4 goals, field goal) defeated Gatton 18 (Jayden Williams, Tyson White, Shannon Hicks, Oliver Bichel tries; Dylan Flanagan goal).
Semi-finals at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday
2nd placed Valleys take on 3rd placed Norths at 3pm
1st placed Goodna take on 4th placed West End at 5pm
Both games will be broadcasted on West Bremer radio. www.westbremmerradio.com
Winners of these matches will play in the final the following weekend.