Tisdell's five sparks Devils
UNKNOWN and unheralded centre Heath Tisdell wreaked havoc, bagging five tries to be a match winner as Isis Devils posted their first victory of the Bundaberg A Grade season, edging out perennial battlers Waves Tigers 38-34 in their fourth round clash at Salter Oval on Saturday night.
Earlier on the program, Easts Magpies and Hervey Bay Seagulls drew 16-all in the "Battle of the Birds", while at Eskdale Park, Maryborough, on Anzac Day night, Wallaroos showed that they are the real deal, upsetting Brothers 34-26.
In the wash-up, Wests Panthers, who had the bye, emerged as the outright leader on 8 points, with Brothers on 6, followed by Hervey Bay 5, Wallaroos 4, Isis and Easts on 3 apiece and Waves having two points to their credit from their bye.
With the Devils' Samoan contingent, including Test player Tanielu Pasene, up against the Tigers' Tongan recruits, there was a real Polynesian influence on the game, but while Isis got the points, courtesy of Tisdell's feast, they were not overly impressive and they will need to improve if they are to climb up the ladder.
The Devils led 20-12 at the break but with Tigers centre Inoke Poleo picking up a double, they refused to surrender and the battle went right down to the wire.
It was a similar story in the Magpies-Seagulls showdown with the former taking a 10-6 lead to the break but in the end, having to settle for one point.
In a youthful but highly talented team, the Magpies included 10 players under the age of 20, including their whole back line, incorporating winger Ben Schrader who crossed for another double.
For Easts, brothers Reece and Cody Maughan, enjoyed playing together for the first time with the former now a powerhouse front rower after earning his stripes as a winger, and the latter a finely built and skilful centre.
Roos served it up to Brothers and a major upset was on the cards when they opened up an 18-0 lead late in the first half, and they rallied to again go ahead by 18 points early in the second stanza after Brothers had opened their account with an unconverted try shortly before the break.
But Brothers finally got their act together and hit the front 26-22 with four tries in the space of 11 minutes, with interchange players Shannon Moen, under-18 lightweight reserve hooker Tyla Hodge and Patrick Corrigan, getting them going, including with Moen scoring himself, under-18 winger Aidan Dempsey finishing off superbly from a clean break down the right by Mat Templeman and centre Jack Rangeley and star fullback Shaun Collins also grabbing four-pointers.
It would have been easy for Roos to drop their bundles but with a parochial home crowd behind them, they forced a knock-on on the third tackle from Brothers' next possession and hit back immediately with a converted try with 12 minutes remaining.
Then, on the stroke of full-time, they put the icing on the cake with another superb try, with Woorabinda recruit and classy halfback Roderique Gela, who dazzled in the halves with his brother Gibson, adding the extras for a personal tally of 18 points from two tries and five conversions.
Hard hitting lock Brad Davis also featured with a double in a heavyweight all-round display.
The match featured a front row Jung family feud with William (Roos) finally having a win over his cousin Brad, a former Roos premiership star and long-serving champion who transferred to Brothers last season.
Such is the even-ness of the competition this year, players from six of the seven clubs have been named in the Bundaberg team to contest the 47th Battalion Carnival in Gladstone on May 10 and 11.
Hervey Bay have their biggest contingent ever in the Bears team with five - Clinton and Terry Horne, Tom Quill, Michael Robinson and Mitchell Yarrow - while the Brethren also have five - Queensland Rangers incumbents Mat Templeman, Shaun Collins and Tyrone Hopgood, along with Brad Jung and Joel McCrea.
Wests have three in Leon Baldry, James Pritchard and Josh Tanner, with three from Isis (Robert O'Donnell, Tanielu Pasene and Nathan Sullivan), and two each from Easts (Zak Bainbridge and Rhys Neil) and Wallaroos (Damien Otto and Roy Stretton), with only Waves missing out.
Meanwhile, Brothers made a perfect start to their quest for four straight women's titles, outgunning hosts Wallaroos 40-6 at Eskdale Park with Queensland representative five-eighth Nicole Curtis leading the charge with a hat-trick of tries and new centre Olivia Hetherington picking up a double on debut.
At Salter Oval, newcomers Gladstone Raidettes impressed on debut, plucking the Magpies 30-6 with fullback Chelsea Baker running amok with three tries and five goals for a personal haul of 22 points.
Wallaroos 34 (Roderique Gela 2, Brad Davis 2, Sam Hutchins, Roy Stretton tries; Roderique Gela 5 goals) d Brothers 26 (Shaun Collins, Jack Rangeley, Mat Templeman, Aidan Dempsey, Shannon Moen tries; Tyrone Hopgood 3 goals).
East 16 (Ben Schrader 2, Jarrod Crook tries; Zak Bainbridge 2 goals) drew Hervey Bay 16 (Terry Horne, Tom Quill, Alex Braun tries; Clinton Horne 2 goals).
Isis 38 (Heath Tisdell 5, Tanielu Pasene, Brandon Lowcock, Nathan Sullivan tries; Robert O'Donnell 3 goals) d Waves Tigers 34 (Inoke Poleo 2, Blake Spry, Nathan Jones, Aidan Law, Dominic Tavae tries; Sairusi Lalanabaravi 3, Chris Georgio 2 goals).