Rabbitswich: Keary and Auva'a do the city proud
THE RABBITOHS are still celebrating their first premiership win in 43 years and two former Ipswich schoolboys played a massive part in the 30-6 victory over Canterbury.
Halfback Luke Keary and centre Kirisome Auva'a both had outstanding games and both retain strong connections with the city.
Keary, 22, said before the game that he wanted to win the title for Ipswich and paid homage to Allan Langer and the Walters brothers, who were his heroes as a young boy growing up in the city.
Keary was born in Ipswich and spent the first 10 years of his life here, playing his junior footy with Norths Tigers.
Auva'a, also 22, is a former Ipswich Grammar School student who was a rugby star when he attended the school. He also played league with Norths.
In the sheds after the game he celebrated with two former Ipswich Jets players Rhys Teelow and Tom Guymer.
Jets chairman Steve Johnson, also a passionate Rabbitohs fan, said the two Ipswich boys had done the city proud.
"This proves that we still are, and will be into the future.
"Those two lads have both overcome adversity and should be very proud of themselves.
"Young Keary was rejected by four clubs and Kirisome has now been to a couple.
"It just shows you that if you commit to your talent, you will be rewarded with success.
"Those two boys have got the outcome they deserve."
Keary loves to identify with Ipswich and Queensland.
"He is a kid who spent his first 10 years in Ipswich and learned to play the game here, so it is wonderful that 12 years later he remembers that and it still resonates with him," Johnson said.
"It is wonderful testimony for the people that work tirelessly for rugby league in Ipswich."
Keary is a classic Ipswich style of player - a little man with a big heart.
"He is a little man ... big heart, cheeky and tough. People underestimate how tough Alfie was at 64 kilos on debut. He still mixed it with the big boys.
"Alfie was rarely hurt and he copped some big impacts, as does Luke. But Luke gets up with a smile on his face and does it again."
Auva'a took a pass from Keary to set up the Rabbitohs' first try for Alex Johnston.
"It was Ipswich to Ipswich to Johnston," Johnson said. "I sent a text to Ben Dobbin, who was calling it for Triple M - 'That was Ipswich to Ipswich for that first try'."
Auva'a posted on Facebook a photo of him savouring the win with his former Ipswich Grammar friends Teelow and Guymer.
"It just shows he hasn't forgotten his mates from Ipswich," Johnson said.
Keary and Auva'a continued the tradition of Ipswich players such as Langer, the Walters and Peter Ryan winning first grade titles.
You wouldn't bet against them winning a few more.