September means warmer weather, greener grass and finals football, and all three will be featured in the grand final of the Volunteers Cup this Saturday at the North Ipswich Reserve.
The Goodna Eagles will come up against Norths Tigers and compete to claim the first, and perhaps the only, Volunteers Cup.
The Eagles secured their place in the grand final following their 38-12 win over West End last weekend, but they had laid the platform for their appearance in the decider after putting in a dominate season where they only lost one game.
In their win over West End Bulldogs last weekend, the Eagles scored from the get-go; crossing in the second minute of the game after the opening kick-off from the Bulldogs didn't go 10 metres, allowing Goodna to capitalise from the penalty.
Despite some resilience shown by Jae Woodward's Bulldogs to crawl back and lead 8-6 at the 20-minute mark, from there, it was all the Eagles who put in a clinical finals display.
The highly-skilled team planted the foot down hard and scored the next seven tries, with Elone Taufa crossing for a double.
It was yet another win for the top of the ladder Eagles who have only lost one game all season – and that game was to Norths in Round 7.
Despite that setback, Goodna will be feeling confident heading into this weekend and they are such a cohesive unit that it will take a supreme effort from Norths to repeat the dose against the favoured Eagles side.
Goodna coach Alistair Taua’aletoa said he was happy to see his side’s efforts this season rewarded with a grand final appearance and he was not trying to downplay the excitement level for his players.
“Any time you make a grand final, that needs to be respected and acknowledged for the achievement it is,” Taua’aletoa said.
“We are excited.
“I think that losing to Norths was a pivotal moment for us this season, there was some complacency creeping into our side and that just let us know we are not as good we thought.
“The loss refocused us and we got ready to finish the season.”
The Eagle that the Tigers team will be talking about all week and making plans to nullify will be fullback BJ Aufaga-Toomaga.
Starting out the year with the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Intrust Super Cup, Aufaga-Toomaga has all the traits to put opposition teams on notice.
He provides great support play and possesses a sensational running game and has been bringing the Ipswich and Toowoomba crowds to their feet whenever he has touched the ball in the Volunteers Cup.
The former Central Queensland Capras gun who played in a trial match with the Brisbane Broncos at the start of the 2020 season said he was excited to be playing finals football.
“This is my first time playing finals since I was with Newtown in 2018,” Aufaga-Toomaga said.
“Saturday is just about us making sure we are ready to go and we control the middle of the field.”
Goonda Eagles will play Norths Tigers in the grand final of the Volunteers Cup on Saturday, October 17 at North Ipswich Reserve. Kick off will be at 3pm.