Why Goodna’s footy warrior inspires side with new vigour
AFTER feeling stale following years of wonderful service, Goodna Eagles warrior Ramon Filipine is playing with a new lease of life.
Having a reinvigorated Filipine score what proved the match-winning try in an epic rugby league contest, it's easy to see why.
The Goodna captain's late piece of brilliance against West End locked up the scores at 24-24 before Eagles superboot Bessie Toomaga-Aufaga sealed a gripping victory with his post-hooter goal.
Toomaga-Aufaga broke the deadlock 25 metres back from the touchline and despite a swirling wind.
But it was Filipine's man-of-the-match performance that helped preserve Goodna's three-match unbeaten record in the Rugby League Ipswich Volunteers Cup competition.
Goodna's dramatic win against the determined Bulldogs also ensured Goodna retained the Matthew "Kama'' O'Brien Memorial Cup the Eagles have won for the past five years.
After the best game of the Volunteers Cup tournament so far, 35-year-old Filipine provided an honest assessment that will surely give his club even more to cheer about.
"It's kind of sparked something new for me,'' Filipine said of leading this year's youth-laden Goodna side.
"For a couple of years there, I was getting a bit stale and repetitive.
"But now it's a lot different. You've got a young side and no-one has played this year.
"No-one is getting paid money and it's kind of brought out a new team now.''
While he's still getting to know the Eagles youngsters promoted to first grade football, Filipine said that made his senior role all the more important in what was essentially a development year for the proud Ipswich club.
"It's good because it makes you work harder, leading the group,'' the man of the match said.
"It's probably been better this year because it keeps me away from other aspects of the club, like the political side. I can just play footy.''
His added inspiration is especially the case because he was a Goodna junior who rose up the ranks.
Filipine said last night's tight win after two more comfortable victories highlighted what the young Goodna footballers were made of under a lot of pressure.
"It was a really physical game and usually some of the young boys shy away from that,'' he said. "But they didn't go away.''
Filipine praised West End for a classic battle.
"They pushed us right until the end,'' he said. "They were probably winning the battle there.''
West End led 16-8 at halftime.
In the closing stages, Bulldogs regained the lead when fullback Shar Walden crossed for a superb try to lift West End up 24-20.
However, with seconds left in the game, powerhouse frontrunner Filipine had the final say with his try 10 metres inside from the right touchline.
The captain, who returned to Goodna in 2016, was in awe of Toomaga-Aufaga's calm post-siren effort.
"He's a sharpshooter. He's good,'' Filipine said, clearly impressed by his accurate teammate.
Filipine said Eagles secondrower John Maila was another outstanding player, along with Faauli Malaesilia.
West End captain Aiden Boyce also had an outstanding match.
His try just before halftime ensured the match honouring "Kama'' would be a memorable one.
The tribute game has been played since Kama tragically died in a 2015 work fire at Yatala.
Kama had played for West End and served as a runner and assistant coach at Goodna.
"It's real special for some of the guys at the club who knew him and played alongside him too,'' Filipine said.
Israel Oti was another Bulldogs player who made a huge impact in a match between Volunteers Cup heavyweights.
The Norths Tigers left the North Ipswich Reserve with plenty to think about after their latest Volunteers Cup match.
Toowoomba Valleys overran the Tigers 52-8 to leave Norths with one victory from three games.
Norths tryscorers were captain Chris Scanlan and a spectacular effort from winger Jonathon Plumb. He leapt high over his opponent to score millimetres inside the right corner post.
The Gatton Hawks secured their opening win of the tournament 26-24 over Toowoomba Souths.
Veteran forward Michael Frohloff scored a hat-trick for the Hawks in a seesawing duel.
Shannon Hicks and Oliver Bichel were also standouts for Gatton.
STATE OF PLAY
RLI Volunteers Cup Rd 3: Goodna 26 (Ramon Filipine, Fataape Timai, Chris Schwalger, Bessie Toomaga-Aufaga, Wilson Malesilia tries; Bessie Toomaga-Aufaga 3 goals) defeated West End 24 (Shar Waldon, Classie Oti, Robert Kennedy, Elijah Umu, Aiden Boyce tries; Israel Oti 2 goals).
Valleys 52 (Dylan Chown 2, Dwayne Duncan 2, Daniel Bain 2 Aaron Hooper 2, Alex Hinch, Gerome Burns tries; Dwayne Duncan 3 Gerome Burns 2, Travis Turnbull goals) defeated Norths 8 (Chris Scanlan, Jonathon Plumb tries).
Gatton 26 (Michael Frohloff 3, Clay Melling, Jake Hooper tries; Dylan Flanagan 3 goals) defeated Souths 24 (Jordan Croker, Jaren Bender, Nathaniel Jones, Ben Howard, Luke Maiden tries; Alex Dunneman 2 goals).
Round 4: Saturday, August 22 at North Ipswich Sports Reserve
1.30pm: Gatton v Goodna
3.30pm: Valleys v West End
5.30pm: Souths v Norths
Ladder: Goodna 6, Valleys 4, West End 2, Souths 2, Norths 2, Gatton 2.