Sharks get added bite with father-and-son duo

HUGE HONOUR: South Kolan's Isaiah Gala has enjoyed the NDRL season playing with his father Thomas Johnson. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
HUGE HONOUR: South Kolan's Isaiah Gala has enjoyed the NDRL season playing with his father Thomas Johnson. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

BEFORE big games rugby league players look for sources of inspiration, for some it's an NRL star or someone from another sport, but South Kolan winger Isaiah Gala doesn't have to look outside his family for motivation.

And Sunday in the preliminary final of the Northern Districts Rugby league if Gala needs a push in the expected tough game against Gin Gin he will only have to cast his eye towards the bench.

Because lining up with him in the must-win game, like he has all season will be his father, Thomas Johnson, an experience which Gala will treasure for the rest of his life.

Rarely do father-son combinations play rugby league together and Gala said having his father wear the same jersey has lifted his game to a new level.

"From when I was young he really inspired me to play footy, and most people don't get to play with their dad," Gala said.

"I've played a lot better this year because we have a different kind of bond.

"It's really good because every time I score a try he always shakes my hand."

For the past 11 years Gala has watched Johnson play for South Kolan and his move from Waves Tigers after eight seasons has been the best of his life.

Gala said he knew the game against Gin Gin is going to tough but he was confident with a full-strength team he and his father would be playing in the biggest game of the year and adding the thrill will be knowing they did it together.

LANCE CHANCE: Michael Murphy of Gin Gin could be playing his last game of rugby league this weekend in the preliminary final against South Kolan. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
LANCE CHANCE: Michael Murphy of Gin Gin could be playing his last game of rugby league this weekend in the preliminary final against South Kolan. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN130714RUG7

Lining up in the second row will be Michael Murphy, who if unsuccessful will be playing the final game of a 26-year run in the sport.

Murphy played in Wests 2013 premiership in the Bundaberg Rugby League and followed Tracey, Brent, Aaron and Benjamin Kuskey to Gin Gin.

From early in the preseason Murphy has been an excellent contributor to the team and he said even after over a quarter of a century being battered each weekend he didn't want it to end just yet.

"I've had a good run but I still want to win this week," Murphy said.

"It will feel a bit empty if I finish this week because I think we've got two games in us."

Murphy plans on playing a bit more golf after his league days are over but said if the Hawks have good line defence his time on the greens will start a bit later.

Key to Gin Gin's hopes will be captain Brent Kuskey's performance, if Kuskey is allowed any room on the field the big South Kolan defenders will have a hard time stopping him.

Topics:  agnes water bundaberg gin gin gin gin hawks ndrl northern district rugby league preliminary final south kolan sport

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