Panthers pounce on second spot

WESTS Panthers claimed second place on the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership ladder when their last-round showdown with Wallaroos was abandoned after 45 minutes due to a serious injury to five-eighth Nathan Broadhurst with them leading 32-6.


The match was the first on the Men of League Heritage Round triple-header, with Isis Devils then missing the chance to snare a top-three finish when they were beaten 30-22 by late-season swoopers Hervey Bay Seagulls, before minor premiers Brothers, who had rested a host of their stars who had been battling injuries, had to settle for a 26-all draw with Easts Magpies.


Representative star Josh Tanner wreaked havoc for the Panthers, racking up three tries and four goals.


Also without a few of their big guns, who are expected to return for their qualifying final duel with the Magpies this Sunday, captain/coach Brent Kuskey was pleased with their effort, including with his fill-ins such as big hearted but pint-sized winger Tom Courtice, who was among the tries in his first A Grade game of 2013, doing their jobs with aplomb.


While his season is over, Broadhurst received some good news in that his injury is not anywhere as serious as first feared.


Roos finished the season with just one win but they will contest the elimination final in Reserve grade after placing fifth.


Hervey Bay will take plenty of confidence into their elimination final rematch with Isis this week after upstaging the Devils despite a hat-trick of tries to Isis young gun rookie winger Mitchell Bartlett.


They trailed 14-6 at oranges but finished by far the stronger despite the absence of their best two players, Tyrone Hopgood and Mitchell Yarrow, although goal kicking proved the difference between the two sides which each scored five tries but the Seagulls converted all of them, while the Devils could manage only one.


Hervey Bay had earlier signed off on the Reserve Grade minor title with a 94-10 demolition of the Devils.


Easts drew first blood against Brothers and while they led twice, Brothers did enough to go to the sheds ahead 14-10, and when they stretched their advantage to 16 points within six minutes of the restart, the Magpies looked beaten.


But they drew level with 10 minutes on the clock with interchange dynamo Jackson Van Mierlo crashing over for his second try and Robert Hughes adding the extras.


However neither side was able to break the dead-lock as time ticked away.


Easts will take heart from the draw, although there was no cause for concern for Brothers despite giving up a 26-10 lead early in the second stanza to in the end hold on.


Fraser Coast claimed the under-18 minor premiership, albeit on points differential, with a 56-6 drubbing of Brothers in which fullback James Brown and centre Dalton Harry co-starred, each with four tries.


Brothers celebrated the womens minor premiership with a well executed 30-10 victory at the expense of Isis, after Easts had white-washed Wests 58-0 to secure second placing with centre Kirra Broome having a field day with four tries.


Wests 32 (Josh Tanner 3, Tom Courtice, Joel Fagan, Brent Kuskey tries; Josh Tanner 4 goals) d Wallaroos 6 (Will Jung try, Luke Beatty goal).


Hervey Bay 30 (Billy Stefaniuk, Tom Freshwater, Darcy Horgan, Ashley O'Donnell, Sam Burns tries; Jayden Johnson 3, Joel Denduck 2 goals) d Isis 22 (Mitchell Bartlett 3, Daniel Barghammer, Robert O'Donnell tries; O'Donnell goal).


Brothers 26 (Josh Anderson, Nigel Bowen, Quade McGrory, Shaun Collins, Brad Jung tries; Nathan Moore 3 goals) drew Easts 26 (Jackson Van Mierlo 2, Willie Nagas, Reece Maughan, John Cambridge tries; Robert Hughes 3 goals).