Norths and West End players come to grips in yesterday's
Ipswich Rugby League A-grade match at Keith Sternberg
Oval, won by Norths 28-24.
IT was the sort of high quality match that has been missing for most of the Ipswich Rugby League season.
Fierce defence, fearless charges and sublime skills were all on show at Richardson Park with Goodna finishing 28-14 winners over Brothers.
The scoreline belies the extent to which Goodna were pushed, however, with Brothers leading 15 minutes into the second half thanks to tries to Brett Turner, Kiti Notoa and Troy Sharpe.
It was then Andrew Walker, a probing threat throughout, really chose to make his presence felt.
Walker's passes led to tries to wingers Andrew Petaia and Paul Falekakala five minutes apart in the middle of the second half to put the home team in control.
With seven minutes remaining, the dual international completed his master class, running on to a Damon Viellaris short ball and splitting the defence near halfway before chipping over the Brothers fullback, regathering and scoring.
Prior to the game, Brothers sprang a surprise, with former Ipswich Jets hooker Michael Ryan starting.
Ryan showed his class on several occasions, making big metres from dummy half and providing quality service to his runners.
But Goodna had plenty of class of their own with their entire backline a continual threat, though halfback Craig Wehrman was well contained.
Combined with the powerful performance from their forwards, it was eventually too much for the Brethren to hold.
It was a credit to Brothers' defence that they kept Goodna at bay for three-quarters of the match.
Both coaches had predicted an arm wrestle and so it proved until Walker ran amok.
Asked what he thought or Goodna, Ryan needed just one word – "big".
"They're not unbeatable but it will take a side on a good day to beat them," he said.
"We played well for a little bit and held our own.
"There is a lot of combination stuff to work with.
"We'll peak towards the end of the season."
Goodna second rower Matiu was backing up from Ipswich Diggers' duty the previous evening and seemed to be struggling a quarter of the way through the match.
By the second half, however, he was leading the charge in attack and defence.
He put his second wind down to being given a Powerade while he was off the field.
"It was a good effort," Matiu said.
"We've been having not so much an easy time but we've been coasting. It was a good set-up for us to build on for next week (against Swifts)."
Matiu believes Goodna have not yet peaked either.
"We've got to work on getting into it from the kick-off," he said.
"We took our time."
Matiu noticed a marked improvement in Brothers from their first round encounter.
"They were a lot different to the first game," he said.
"They're finding their feet.
"(Halfback Jason) Connors has done a lot for them."
Goodna coach Anthony Fowler was happy his team had passed what he said was their first test of the season.