Retiring Tiger leaves with fantastic news for his club
AFTER scoring the last try of the grand final, Norths enforcer Tonga Mounga knew it was time to stand aside.
Unfortunately for the hardworking and consistent Tigers point scorer, his Ipswich A-Grade career ended without another victory.
But as he reflected on the game with family and friends, Mounga was content to pursue another footballing goal that will elevate club supporters.
He will still be around Norths in the future coaching juniors.
"I think it's time to hang the boots up,'' Mounga said, enjoying a final moment on the sideline.
"I'm focusing on coaching my younger boys, passing on my knowledge.''
That includes working with the Tigers under 7s next year.
Mounga scored in the final minutes of Saturday's Volunteers Cup grand final won 44-14 by competition pacesetters Goodna.
Having been an influential figure since joining Norths in 2011, the former Ipswich Jet acknowledged the better side won.
"They are really quick in playing the ball and just play everywhere,'' he said.
"They were on today.''
But like retiring Norths captain Chris Scanlan, Mounga had played enough A-Grade rugby league at a club he strongly supported.
"We've had a good career together,'' he said, of regularly linking with loyal clubmen like Scanlan.
"It's a strong bond that we have.''
Mounga and Scanlan have shared in four grand finals with the Tigers, winning two.
That has been the overriding highlight of Mouga's time at Norths.
"Just playing with the blokes that I do,'' he said.
Trailing 28-4 at halftime, the Tigers gave themselves a glimmer of hope by scoring straight after the break through a barging run by powerful Ethan Page.
Fullback Luke Self also gave his all trying to spark a mini-recovery.
But when Goodna scored its sixth try, it was left to the Tigers to salvage some pride.
Mounga's 77th minute effort in the corner showed his team never gives up.
Another courageous effort came from Anava Fesolai, who had been on antibiotics treating tonsillis. He also had spent a night in hospital before doing a Trevor Gillmeister and turning up wanting to play in the final.
One of the pleasing aspects of Norths season in reaching the grand final was the ongoing development of their club youth.
Mounga hopes to assist with that in the future.
"Just helping guide and mould the younger generation for the upcoming season,'' he said.
"I will still be around the club.''
In a season Norths achieved so much, that's a positive sign for future football glory.
Volunteers Cup grand final: Goodna Eagles 44 (Fa'ata'ape Timau 2, Rez Phillips, Iosua Afoa, Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga, Elone Taufa, Christopher Schwalger, Trivendra Naidu tries; Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 6 goals) def Norths Tigers 14 (Ethan Page, Luke Self, Tonga Mounga tries; Tonga Mounga goal) at North Ipswich Reserve.