'This is the year' of the Gladiators
READY to host Caboolture this afternoon, Goodna Gladiators stand-in captain Andrew Tapuai said the signs have never been better for the suburban team.
Ranked second on the Barber Cup ladder at the halfway point of the season, Goodna are preparing to take on Pine Rivers for the Presidents Cup on July 1.
With regular captain Charles Tauvao overseas in Samoa, Tapuai is taking on the leadership role for Goodn. He is confident of continuing the Gladiators strong start to the season.
"I feel like this is the year for us,” Tapuai said. "We fell short last year but we were still up there.
"It just comes down to commitment. We want to be in the grand final at the end of the season. That's our goal.”
Confidence has been high in the Goodna camp since embarking on a successful pre-season campaign.
Hosted by the Ipswich Rangers, the Gladiators started the year by claiming the inaugural QSRU Rugby 10s Tournament at Woodend Park.
"After winning the 10s there was just so much positive feedback for the team,” Tapuai said.
"We've really built up our confidence and I think that's where it all kicked in.
"We didn't expect to be where we are now with the team we have but that positive mindset has really helped.
"We've got a lot of new players coming through this year and everyone has stepped it up.
"Injuries have always meant that we don't have the full team when it comes to play-offs but I don't think that will be a problem this year.
"We've got good numbers and everyone is playing with one heart and one mind.”
Goodna have suffered just one loss this season, against the competition leaders Pine Rivers.
Although this weekend's opponents Caboolture are ranked last and still searching for their first win of the season, Tapuai isn't ready to underestimate the reigning premiers.
The last time the two sides met, Goodna were held to a 17-17 draw by the home side.
"We never write off Caboolture,” he said.
"As it comes closer to the finals they always have a different team and change how they play.
"You can never write off a top team like them even when you are playing at home.”
Goodna Gladiators v Caboolture today at Evan Marginson Oval:
Pegg Cup from 1.40pm.
Barber Cup from 3pm.